Discover how a soap saver works, what an egg has to do with darning and re-live sustainability as practised at Miss Porter’s House in the early twentieth century.
See what great-grandmother recycled in a special Miss Porter’s House display. Florence, Ella and Hazel Porter made, mended and recycled soap, shoes, furniture, flour bags and much more. Find out how a soap saver works, what an egg has to do with darning and how flour bags can be turned into clothing. Miss Porter’s House was built by Ella and Hazel’s father in 1909 and is a freestanding Edwardian terrace containing the possessions of the Porter family. Visit and re-live sustainability as practised in the early twentieth century.
Ella and Hazel Porter were not rich. Their father, the breadwinner, died in 1919 when they were young children. They worked as secretaries, typists and shop assistants supporting themselves and their mother.
The variety of manufactured goods we take for granted today did not exist in the early twentieth century. People who lived through the Depression years of the 1930s and the Second World War learnt to reuse and recycle. These habits often continued through life. The Porter women made their own clothes, remodelled older clothes, and mended tears and rips. They knitted, crocheted and sewed, made baskets, embroidered pillowslips and stencilled tablecloths. Whatever could be repaired, was repaired and they ate home cooked meals.
They were good dressmakers and making or adapting clothes during the scarcities and rationing of World War II would not have been difficult. The Miss Porter’s House collection also has several examples of darning, something we rarely do nowadays. Favourite dresses, which faded with washing and wear, were also patched and darned. So, visit and re-live sustainability as practised in the early twentieth century.
Item from Miss Porter’s House collection. Copyright National Trust (NSW)
On display at Miss Porter’s House from 1pm – 4pm, Sunday 13 November 2022.
Miss Porter’s House is the only National Trust property in Newcastle. Built by Herbert Porter in 1909, the family lived in this freestanding Edwardian terrace until 1997. It survives with contents intact as a rare living snapshot of life for a female household of modest means.
How to book your tickets
Book via Eventbrite where possible, to guarantee a spot.