Goldfish Tub

A large white tub with blue trim on top. The paint on the sides is peeling. A white brick wall surrounds it.
Tub in the Basement

Country of Origin: Canada
Year: ca. 1900
Materials: Enameled Metal and Wood 

The Harris Family had a large household and used spaces for multiple purposes. In the basement, this large wood and metal tub was meant to be a laundry tub, where the maids would be able to wash large items. Majority of the Eldon House laundry was not done onsite, though things like linens and delicates were washed and dried by the maids. Images from the 1930s show the maids hanging up these items on clotheslines on the west lawn, allowing them to air dry.

In the winter, this tub had a different use, as the habitat for the family’s koi fish! The Harris’ used to keep koi in the small pond in the rock garden. However, as koi are expensive, they attempted to keep them alive in the laundry tub during the winter! It was the responsibility of the gardener, whose name was William Barnett, to take the fish out of the pond and maintain them in the basement. According to William, he would fatten them up by feeding them boiled oatmeal. Once the warm weather broke, the fish would again go outside, and the maids could do laundry uninterrupted!