The Shanks family led a life of wealth and privilege. As was typical for the Moscow rich at the time, the family spent their summers at their dacha and winters in their Moscow home.
The Shanks Moscow home was the Pakroffka and their dacha was in Fili. At that time Fili was outside Moscow, but it has now been subsumed by Moscow's suburbs. The Shanks dacha is shown below.
The Shanks at home in Moscow
Travel in Russia
The Shanks family were partners in the Russian Carpet Company. Aylmer Maude (husband of Louise Shanks) was an employee of the company before he met Tolstoy and retired from this job to translate Tolstoy's writing. According to family tradition, James Shanks junior travelled to the central Asian republics to gather samples for the Russian Carpet Company. The photo below is from the family album and shows samples of clothing collected on trips to central asian regions of Russia.
James Shanks senior bought a large home 'The Pakroffka' located at 37 Pakrovka road around 1883. The family tradition is that it was purchased from a nobleman who got in to financial difficulties. The house was run with the help of 10 servants (see below) and the ballroom was said to accommodate 100 dancers. The family sold the house in around 1914.
The photo on the right shows the interior of the Pakroffka from the parlour through to the ballroom.
The Pakroffka, Shanks family home. First floor plan below
The Pakroffka was demolished and replaced with a apartment building in the early 1930's; this still stands and is called the "Politkatorzhanin" or house of the political prisoners - a cooperative set up with the aim of housing political victims of the Tsarist regime.
To see the Pakroffka in its historic Moscow setting click here: Pakroffka