New Year, New Season at Rose Hill

January 28th, 2022

By Mel Oles, Visitor Services and Programs Manager at Rose Hill Mansion and Johnston House

Rose Hill OrnamentIt is an exciting time at Rose Hill Mansion and even though the doors are closed until May there is a lot happening. Also, it would have been an exciting time with the Swan family during the New Year.

At Rose Hill we are planning for the new season which includes recruiting new tour guides, research, cleaning, painting and more. If you are interested in leading tours or volunteering, please visit our website for more information. It takes a community to run the site and give the best experience to our visitors.

If we were visiting the Swan family during the New Year it also would have been a busy time. The Victorians celebrated the New Year with fireworks, bells ringing, walk at night with moon light and a celebration with friends. Today most of us celebrate on New Year’s Eve. During the Victorian period, however, most of the activities took place on New Years’ Day. Each house would have been open with games and food. Women and children stayed at home while the men traveled from house to house. The dining room table had food and drinks displayed for guests. Children were often kept upstairs out of sight of the festivities.

In addition to visiting, New Year’s Day was a time to clean. The day represented a new start and good health. People would clean the ash from their fireplaces as a of symbol sweeping away the past year’s bad luck or bad health. It was also a symbol of starting a new year with a clean slate. We are in the process of painting parts of the interior of Rose Hill and a deep clean of the mansion will be done in preparation for reopening in May.

January is cold and windy at Rose Hill. The Swan family would have kept warm by their fireplaces throughout the mansion and their servants by the hearth in the kitchen. There wasn’t snow removal like we have today.  If there was bad weather, people were often isolated. They would use a sleigh instead of their carriages during the winter months. The family would spend a lot of time in their back parlor. They would play games, read books, sew, do handcrafts and sip tea.

We are busy here at Rose Hill getting ready for a great season and we can’t wait to welcome you back. If you are interested in getting involved, more information is on our website.

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