A glimpse of life for children in a stately home

Audley End House

A historic country house in Essex is to provide visitors with a glimpse of what life was like for children of a large aristocratic family in the early Victorian era.

In a £1.1 million project, Audley End House near Saffron Walden is opening its second-floor nursery suite in the spring to show how the eight children of the 3rd Baron Braybrooke were brought up.

Helped by interactive displays, visitors to the English Heritage-run house will gain an insight into the children's sheltered lives at a time when youngsters were expected to be "seen and not heard".

Eating wholesome food, the children would have had a succession of wet nurses, nursery maids and governesses and led sheltered lives until, in the case of the five boys, they were shunted off to boarding school, with the three girls being taught at home.

This is the first time the nursery has been on display at Audley End, which dates back to the early 17th century. Another previously unseen part of the house, the coal gallery, is also opening in 2014.

Coal was delivered by crane to the second floor coal gallery where it was stored before being carried to fireplaces in rooms on the first and second floors.