Loyalist House servants' quarters opened for first time
Visitors can now get 'Downton Abbey'-style glimpse at working-class lives at Saint John national historic site
Four rooms at Loyalist House are open to the public for the first time in almost 200 years.
The upper-floor rooms were once the servants' quarters.
From the inside, says Deborah Coleman of the New Brunswick Historical Society, "you wouldn't think there was a third floor: there are no windows. It had been out of sight, out of mind."
The house belonged to the Merritt family of Saint John until 1959, when it was purchased by the New Brunswick Historical Society.
It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1963.
An 'immense job'
"The problem was with the old servants' quarters is that there was no windows. In later times, they added skylights, but there's no ventilation and no heating," she said.
"It would be very cold in the winter and dreadfully hot in the summer."
Now, she says, "we have the different rooms all set up with the different furniture."
More visitors this summer
Administrators say visitor numbers are up at the 1817 site.
A $600,000 facelift earlier this summer included new windows, restored shutters and chimneys, new paint, and the installation of a mural by St. Andrews artist Geoff Slater depicting the landing of the United Empire Loyalists.
The servants' quarters have, Coleman says, "sparked people's interest. A lot of people are looking for their roots, and this is the Loyalist City."
"If you've ever watched Downton Abbey, the servants are much more interesting than those who were 'to the manor born.'"
With files from Information Morning Saint John