Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Medieval Box Bed

From Ancient Origins:
While they seem a bit odd or even claustrophobic to us today, box beds were a very practical solution to a lot of problems faced by people living in Medieval Europe. Firstly, they provided a private space. Many families slept in the same room at that point, and poorer families often lived in dwellings with only one room even as recently as the Victorian era , particularly in rural communities. The beds meant that people were able to retreat to a private part of the room, and they also helped to divide the room up. 
Furthermore, as the beds were built in boxes which were usually raised off the ground, they provided storage space. They usually had a large bench in front of them which could be used as seating, and which also had space for storage. The drawers under the bed or bench were sometimes pulled out to use as a bed for younger family members or guests – the original hide-a-bed. It is also noteworthy that a lot of surviving examples, and the regions where the box bed prevailed the longest, are in regions such as Scandinavia, which are mercilessly cold during the winter. 
The enclosed nature of the box bed means they are very warm and keeping warm could be a matter of life or death in Medieval times – this probably explains why box beds were in use in frigid Scandinavia for longer than elsewhere. (Read more.)

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