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Thinking ourselves back in time – part 3 (Smells)

Still at home?! Pick a nice day and open one of your windows (or go out into your garden). What can you smell?! Hopefully your nose will pick up some nice scents – make a list or draw some pictures of the things you can smell.

Do you think you would have experienced the same smells if we could step back in time? Pick two or three of the bullet points below and see if you can answer the questions and complete the tasks – you might need to undertake a little research!

  • Hopefully you enjoyed some nice smells – were there any nasty ones?! Animal smells would have been common in the past and sadly, people could also have been quite smelly at times. Bathrooms in houses only became common in more recent times and the washing machine hadn’t been invented! Watch ‘How Clean were Medieval People’ on YouTube to find out a little more…
  • Did you take a sniff of any plants in your garden? Herbalists in Tudor times believed that many plants had special powers. You might have been lucky enough to smell violets which are believed to be capable of cooling a fever. If you are allowed to, gather a small posy of nice smelling flowers and plants and arrange in a small vase/ jug/ jam jar. Paint (or draw) a picture of your flower arrangement whilst enjoying the pleasant smells.

  • Plants are also grown because they are tasty to eat – did you find anything edible with a powerful smell?! Ask permission to check out some of the vegetables and fruits in your fridge/ fruit bowl – order them from least smelly to smelliest and ask someone else if they agree with the order you decided!
  • Cooking smells can carry easily from room to room and sometimes house to house if windows are open. The smoke from cooking fires would have added to the smell, particularly in an open Tudor kitchen like ‘Winkhurst’ at the Weald & Downland Living Museum. Sit in your kitchen whilst a meal is being cooked – what individual ingredients can you smell? Do you find them pleasant or unpleasant smells?
  • Perhaps you smelt somebody smoking outside? Tobacco was new to people in the Tudor era – where did it come from? How did it get here?

Why not book a ticket now for when we re-open and visit us for your chance to experience the sights of the past.

Tickets booked during the Coronavirus lock-down will be valid for 24 months, single use only.