Victorian London - Houses and Housing - Housing of the Middle Classes - Genteel Households

    It was a Monday that was appointed for the celebration of the nuptials, and Miss Amelia Martin was invited, among others, to honour the wedding-dinner with her presence. It was a charming party; Somers-town the locality, and a front parlour the apartment. The ornamental painter and decorator's journeyman had taken a house - no lodgings nor vulgarity of that kind, but a house - four beautiful rooms, and a delightful little washhouse at the end of the passage - which was the most convenient thing in the world, for the bridesmaids could sit in the front parlour and receive the company, and then run into the little washhouse and see how the pudding and boiled pork were getting on in the copper, and then pop back into the parlour again, as snug and comfortable as possible. And such a parlour as it was! Beautiful Kidderminster carpet - six bran-new cane-bottomed stained chairs - three wine-glasses and a tumbler on each sideboard - farmer's girl and farmer's boy on the mantelpiece: girl tumbling over a stile, and boy spitting himself, on the handle of a pitchfork - long white dimity curtains in the window - and, in short, everything on the most genteel scale imaginable.  Then, the dinner. There was baked leg of mutton at the top, boiled leg of mutton at the bottom, pair of fowls and leg of pork in the middle; porter-pots at the corners; pepper, mustard, and vinegar in the centre; vegetables on the floor; and plum-pudding and apple-pie and tartlets without number: to say nothing of cheese, and celery, and water-cresses, and all that sort of thing. 

Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz, 1836