In Lincoln, RI, the town where I was born and raised, a gorgeous mansion called Hearthside House graces Great Road. I have so many memories of being driven to ballet class and always passing this house. My friend and I would always comment, “Wouldn’t you love to live in that house?!” Now, I have the privilege of being a part of this wonderful team who cares for and supports Hearthside House with various events, such as the Downton Abbey Tea. I have had the pleasure of participating in these special teas for the past 2 years. On Saturday, May 13, I presented “Accessories of Downton Abbey,” where I moved from room-to-room where participants were enjoying their tea, and showed my collection of accessories from 1910-1920s. I had help from several docents, as it was difficult to carry all of the accessories to each room without a little help! I was asked to display these items in the house’s beautiful library, which can be seen in the pictures above and below.
Included in this display were fans, bags, hat pins, shoes, gloves, stockings, a parasol, and a button hook. Patrons love to see the real thing, especially after hearing the history of these items and how the characters from Downton Abbey may have used them. Following the tea (there were 2 seatings that afternoon), guests could tour the house, and many stopped by the library to view the accessories more closely. Despite the inclement weather of wind and rain, the teas were a success!
Built in 1810, Hearthside House is an example of early 19th C. Federal style architecture. The mansion was built by Stephen Hopkins Smith and, although he never lived in the house, members of his family did reside there for a time. The house has such an interesting history, so be sure to visit and tour the home during one of their special events, such as the upcoming 1904 World’s Fair, which takes place on Sunday, July 23. Hearthside House was the model for the RI building at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, so this wonderful event is a terrific way to enjoy an afternoon of historic-related activities and is an opportunity to view both the house and the magnificent grounds. Be sure to check it out!