Furniture brings homely touches to Wroxeter's Roman Town House

The Roman Town House at Wroxeter Roman City, built by Channel 4 for their series “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day” has an altogether more homely feel now, thanks to the installation of some replica furniture in three of its rooms.

The Triclinium (dining room), bedroom and shop area now feature custom-built replica wooden furniture as part of an interpretation project to help the record number of visitors better understand how the Roman household would have operated.

“We opened the Town House to the public last year to coincide with Channel 4’s airing of ’Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day’, and decided that we wanted to give visitors a chance to see the property’s construction first and foremost – so many people had seen the building rise on their TV screens over the series that really the building itself was the story,” comments Mary Wycherley, English Heritage’s site manager for Wroxeter Roman City. “This year, we’re presenting a different side of the property, focusing more on how the different rooms in the house would have been used, with a few key pieces of furniture to help illustrate the story.”

The grandest furniture is in the Triclinium, where three couches and matching tables grace the floor. This room was the most elaborately decorated, with frescos on the wall and a mosaic floor, and the hand-crafted wooden furniture reflects the wealth of the house’s merchant owners – beautifully made from English oak – which would have been readily available around Wroxeter - by Worksop-based History in the Making When used, the couches would have been piled with cushions, but on display in the house, visitors can see the rope lattice that helped make the wooden benches rather more comfortable.

The three couches sit against the walls of the room, with wooden tables between them that would have been laden with oil-burning lamps and sumptuous banquets when the owners welcomed guests for dinner.

The town house’s bedroom furniture is typically simple, with a wooden bed frame and an oak chest for the occupant’s belongings. “As visitors see, this is a room with no windows, which made it suitably dark for sleeping during the summer months, but also reduced draughts to make sure the sleeping space was as warm as it could be,” adds Mary. “Occasionally, braziers would be brought in by servants to warm the room before the house’s owners retired for the evening, but they would not be been left burning whilst the room was occupied, as the lack of ventilation would have quickly caused a deadly build-up of carbon monoxide.”

A counter has also been installed in the shop area of the house. At its peak, Wroxeter would have been occupied by around 5000 citizens, and the shop would have provided a good income for its owners, set on a busy street.

English Heritage’s historians have additionally installed interpretation panels, which are strategically located around the house to help visitors better understand the building’s purpose and the lives of its occupants.

The Roman Town House is part of Wroxeter Roman City, and is open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Admission prices are £5.00 for adults, £4.50 for concessions and £3.00 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) available for £13.00.

For more information, please call 01743 761330 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/wroxeter

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) announced earlier this year that Wroxeter Roman City is the UK visitor attraction with the most improved visitor numbers over the last 12 months, with the number of people passing through the doors rising by 177% year on year.

A media call, featuring costumed re-enactors, will take place on Wednesday 2 May from 11.00am at Wroxeter Roman City, with all of the new furniture on display within the house.

Events taking place at Wroxeter Roman City this year include:

Sat 5 - Mon 7 May Roman Family Fun Trail
Sat 9 - Sun 10 Jun The Mighty Roman Army
Tue 31 Jul - Wed 1 Aug Time Travellers Go…Roman
Tue 7 - Wed 8 Aug Time Travellers Go…Roman
Tue 14 - Wed 15 Aug Time Travellers Go…Roman
Tue 21 - Wed 22 Aug Time Travellers Go…Roman
Sun 26 - Mon 27 Aug Meet the Romans

For further media information, or for a copy of English Heritage’s events press pack for the West Midlands, please contact:

Jay Commins – PRO English Heritage (West Midlands)

Tel: 0113 251 5698

Mob: 07810 546567

Email: jay@fim.org.uk

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