The Box Bed Room
This room would have been Joseph Thompson’s parents’ bedroom in which the main item of furniture would have been a boxbed. Boxbeds were commonly fitted into cottages in rural Dumfriesshire until the beginning of the 20th century. Once curtained off the boxbed provided a warm and cosy sleeping place protecting the sleeper from the cold draughts of night-time. Boxbeds were often lined with newspaper, not for bedtime reading but to keep out the draughts.
The base of the bed was plain wooden boards on top of which was a straw mattress covered with traditional white blankets edged with a pattern of black or dark blue stripes. Most beds had a hand-made patchwork quilt. Each spring the bed would be stripped, the mattress aired or possibly re-filled, and the bed boards taken outside and scrubbed.
The bedroom would have been simply furnished. There may have been kists (wooden boxes) for clothing and personal possessions, a press (cupboard with shelves) for storing linen and blankets and a cradle, which would have been carried through to the living room during the day.
In the mid nineteenth century, apart from the window, lighting would have been by candles or perhaps an oil lamp. To stave off the initial cold of going to bed they might have used a ‘pig’ (a crock hot water bottle).
Before William built the staircase and opened up the attic bedrooms all of the children would have slept in this room as well, often on a ‘hurley’ bed, which was wheeled under the boxbed during the day.
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