Built by a Hertfordshire carpenter in 1580, The Great Bed of Ware is a huge carved oak four-poster bed that measures an impressive 3 x 3.3 metres.
It’s assumed that the bed was originally designed to increase tourism to the quaint town of Ware, which remains a choice overnight stop for visitors to London or Cambridge. Those who stayed in the bed – which could accommodate up to four couples
– would often document their stay by carving their initials into the bedpost or attaching their personal red wax seal. These delightful details can still be enjoyed by visitors to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where the bed now resides after a brief return to its hometown in 2012. The museum calls the bed the ‘single best-known object’ in all their collection, which is quite a feat. ■ www.vam.ac.uk