The plan to furnish certain historic buildings was expressed in the very early days of the Museum. After the initial building developments, this started to take place across the site and the Bayleaf Project of 1989 saw this develop to a new level.
The majority of the furniture that can be seen across the Museum site has been made specifically for the building by Master Carpenter, Roger Champion. Roger worked on many of the timber frames of the buildings at the Museum, and in addition made this beautiful furniture, based on research of existing items and from other sources.
The furniture that originally would have stood in a building was changed over time, and from various sources, including probate inventories, it is possible to find out a list of what items there would have been. In making the furniture, Roger explained:
“The aim is to limit the evidence of modern machinery techniques. For example, no circular saw mark, no planer marks, instead plane by hand, cut moulding with a serrated stook, not a router. This all takes time. All overtime is voluntary!”
“There is no attempt at ‘distressing’ furniture (or buildings for that matter), aging takes place naturally. All furniture has started off in the workshop with two coats of 50/50 raw linseed oil and turpentine. Additional ‘colour’ are soot stained from open fires, polishing by bums on seats, access to the elements through open windows and the existing basic environment at the Museum.”
Other furnishings have been added for the furniture, of which more can be found under individual houses, or example the painted cloth in Bayleaf farmhouse, and much of the work for bedding and other linen cloths was undertaken by the Museum needlework group.