Victorian London - Publications - Etiquette and Household Advice Manuals - Cassells Household Guide, New and Revised Edition (4 Vol.) c.1880s [no date] - Cheap Home Comforts

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Volume 1



Stopping Draughts. - There are many little things that can be done at a small cost to render home comfortable and home-like ; little things that only want a small amount of patience, goodwill, and energy to execute, and which amply repay the trouble they give-  not merely in the imperceptible but palpable comfort bestowed by them, but by the occupation they give to the mind, filling up those odd moments of time that are too often listlessly dawdled or idly gossiped away, and affording that constant round of useful employment that keeps the mind cheerful, and thus helps materially the health of the body.
    It is remarkable how handy a lady can be with a hammer and nails, as well as with a thread and needle, if she will but try. For carpentering she should use a good firm hammer, not too slight, and yet not too heavy for her strength, and not hold it near the head, but from the end, when she strikes. Such a tool will cost about ninepence. The small houses in the suburbs of London, and also in the country, are generally very slightly built, and abound in crevices and draughts. One of the first things to be done on entering a new house is to remedy this in the best way we can. 
    To remedy draughts, first fortify the spaces round the usually ill-fitting doors of a new house. This is once for all. If you have felt carpets, there is usually a quantity of white margin cut off sufficient for part of the process. If not, buy about three yards of felt carpet. One shilling and ninepence a yard is enough to give for a wide width. Cut inch-wide strips - indeed, they may be a little narrower. With tin tacks place these strips all round the part of the door that closes into the doorway. lf it is possible to get the door taken off the hinges, place it underneath too; it will be a great comfort there. Afterwards nail a protection all round the door where it opens, and over the hinges. For this purpose black oil-cloth-about one shilling and tenpence a yard cut in inch and a half wide strips, may be used; or, what looks still better, scarlet twilled binding, inch wide. Fasten this with tacks also round the windows, but not so as to interfere with their free opening. The street and area doors must not be forgotten. 
    Mats.-Mats should be laid outside all doors to stop draughts. These mats ought to fit the doors exactly and completely. If they do not they are ornamental and not useful. The old square mat is now seldom in requisition in any save large houses with spacious landings. The narrow mat, twelve inches wide, not only serves all purposes of use, but looks best in limited space. Those of sheepskin are handsome and efficient; but for upper bedroom doors excellent mats may be made of cloth cuttings, sewn on to canvas in innumerable loops as closely as possible. List, cuttings of felt carpets, or even old stuff dresses, can be utilised. If old material is used, wash it quite clean first, then cut it in inch-wide strips six inches long, and sew them to the foundation as close together as possible. Fig. 1 shows the loop, and where the stitches are made to sew it on; Fig. 2, how the rows of loops are sewn close, one over the other. The next row is, of course, placed as close upon the last as possible.

[--grey numbers in brackets indicate page number, 
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source: Cassells Household Guide, c.1880s