Lumber room

In British usage, a lumber room is a room in a house used primarily for storing unused furniture. British stately homes often had more furniture than could be used at one time, and storing the furniture for future use was more common than selling or discarding it.[citation needed]

The first reference to the phrase "lumber room" in the Oxford English Dictionary is the 1740 novel Pamela.[1] Subsequent references can be found in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,[2] Arthur Conan Doyle's 1891 Sherlock Holmes short story "The Five Orange Pips",[3] and The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.[4] A lumber room is described in detail in Saki's short story "The Lumber Room":[5]

Often and often Nicholas had pictured to himself what the lumber-room might be like, that region that was so carefully sealed from youthful eyes and concerning which no questions were ever answered. It came up to his expectations. In the first place it was large and dimly lit, one high window opening on to the forbidden garden being its only source of illumination. In the second place it was a storehouse of unimagined treasures.

The OED mentions in the verb "lumbering" that it first meant to obstruct with pieces of wood to make things from, and then shifted to general obstruction, hence furniture fit the later meaning[clarification needed].

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