mews n : street lined with building that were originally private stables but have been remodeled as dwellings; "she lives in a Chelsea mews"
- , /mjuːz/, /mju:z/
- Rhymes with: -uːz
- Online Etymology Dictionary}}
Etymology 2Plural noun, see mew.
- For other uses, see Mew.
The term mews is not used for large individual non-royal British stable blocks, a feature of country houses. For example the grand stable block at Chatsworth House is referred to as the stables, not the mews. Instead the word was applied to service streets and the stables in them in cities, primarily London. In the 18th and 19th centuries London housing for wealthy people generally consisted of streets of large terraced houses with stables at the back, which opened onto a small service street. The mews had horse stalls and a carriage house on the ground floor, and stable servants' living accommodation above. Generally this was mirrored by another row of stables on the opposite side of the service street, backing onto another row of terraced houses facing outward into the next street. Sometimes there were variations such as small courtyards. Most mews are named after one of the principal streets which they back onto. Most but not all have the word "mews" in their name. This arrangement was different from most of Continental Europe, where the stables in wealthy urban residences were usually off a front or central courtyard. The advantage of the British system was that it hid the sounds and smells of the stables away from the family when they were not using the horses.
Mews lost their original function in the early 20th century when motor cars were introduced. At the same time, after World War I and especially after World War II, the number of people who could afford to live in the type of houses which had a mews attached fell sharply. Some mews were demolished or put to commercial use, but the majority were converted into homes. These "mews houses", nearly always located in the wealthiest districts, are themselves now fashionable residences. Many are sold for a million pounds (circa US$2 million) and upwards.
For falconry birdsThe Mews also can refer to a birdhouse designed to house a raptor. In falconry there are several mews designs, the freeloft and a traditional mews. Traditional mews usually consist of partitioned spaces designed to keep tethered birds separated with perches for each bird in the partitioned space. Many birds can be safely and comfortably housed in this setup. Traditional mews must be accompanied by a weathering yard to allow captive raptors adequate time outside as most traditional mews do not permit tethered raptors to spend time outdoors.
Freeloft mews allow captive raptors more freedom of motion, but require much more space, as usually only one raptor may safely occupy the much larger chambers. Mews chambers can be as small as 36ft2 but are frequently much larger, often occupying as much space as a small house and sometimes reaching as high as three stories. Birds are allowed to fly free within the chamber, and very often can choose between a number of perches. Perches in the mews may be covered with a number of different surfaces this can reduce the likelihood of Bumblefoot (infection) and allow birds to chose if they would like to sit in the weather, or take more sheltered perches. Freeloft mews are commonly used for private falconry, captive breeding, and raptor rehabilitation, while traditional mews are more commonly used for education.
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