In short, the meaning of “lamus dworski” could be traslated as a manorial outbuilding or storage building.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Historically speaking, a lamus dworski was a storage built close to traditional dwory (singular: a dwór – an architectural style typical for rural houses/manors of Polish nobility, that started appearing around the Renaissance era).
It’s hard to trace when exactly did the word “lamus” appear in the Polish language. According to linguists, it was derived from German “Lehmhaus” which means a mud house. However, the Polish lamus building wasn’t made of mud or covered with mud. [as a side note, I saw that the Polish Wikipedia article about lamus is incorrectly linked to a quincha bulding type there, however there’s little to none actual correlation between these two apart from the lamus being (sometimes) made from wood!]
Lamus dworski, called also just a lamus for short, was typically a brick and stone building, later also made entirely from wood, serving as a warehouse or granary.
Following Zygmunt Gloger‘s definition from his famous “Encyklopedia staropolska ilustrowana” (transl. “Old-Polish Encyclopedia, Illustrated”, released in 1900-1903), lamus was commonly called also a “skarbiec” (treasury) and was used for storing old documents, books, armor, weapons, harnesses, crates with valuable materials like copper, iron, lead, and so on. In the Renaissance and Baroque eras it was made of brick and stone, and its windows were typically protected by built-in steel grilles and closed with shutters. In some known cases much older medieval towers would’ve been remodelled into a lamus.
In poorer areas the building was made rather exclusively of wood, a much cheaper and commonly available material to use in the past. In many cases it started appearing also next to some wealthier peasant houses as a granary with storage space for appliances. On the countryside it eventually took a role of a multipurpose storage building with a cold storage space, where things like cold cuts, pantry supplies, processed food, all kinds of tools, saddles, leather products, and many other things were kept.
It can be recognized by some characteristic architectural forms and elements, for example an arcaded porch or wooden balcony and overhanging roof which you can see on many pictures below. Typically, it had a hip roof (Pol. dach czterospadowy) or a Polish mansard roof (Pol. łamany dach polski). There was never one common style for a lamus, and it was appearing in a lot of slightly different regional architectural forms, linked primarily by its function.
These buildings were falling out of fashion slowly over the time, and were a rare reminder of the old times already around the second half of 19th century. According to the words by Zygmunt Gloger, unused upper floors of these buldings were sometimes serving as holiday bedrooms for teens visiting the countryside during summer in 19th century.
Eventually, the word “lamus” became a common slang for old or outdated things.
In the contemporary slang it can even gain a pejorative meaning, for example to describe a person who’s an outcast or a loser (sometimes used e.g. in the online gaming slang).
It’s rarely in use nowadays, but can be still heard to describe a storage room in a house, a type of “rupieciarnia” (lumber-room or junk room).
The word survived also in a few idioms or phrases, for example “odszedł do lamusa” (literally: went into lamus, meaning: is out of use, e.g. in a context of old electric equipment) or “perła z lamusa” (literally: a pearl from a lamus, meaning something similar to the English phrase “a diamond in the rough”).
WHY THE NAME FOR MY BLOG?
When I was setting up my blog, I wanted to find a good name that would reflect not only the process of my research but also the particular nature of things I wanted to describe. Eventually, I thought of the phrases which I quoted in the last paragraph above. After all, majority of the topics I wanted to focus on: the old customs and ancient stories did go into a figurative lamus during our contemporary urbanized and digitalized times. I wanted to dig them out, find the pearls of informations and connect them like dots into a valuable necklace of data, show the intriguing old crates of informations about customs, dig up the old books, collect informations still alive in corners of the minds of the people.
I really hope I managed to do it in this sense, and that my small “lamus dworski” does feel like a valuable storage, as in the original meaning of that word.
contact: lamusdworski [at] gmail [dot] com