Life Below Stairs
in the Victorian and Edwardian Country House
Publication date: 15 September 2011
Series: National Trust History & Heritage
The largely untold stories of innumerable, rather humble, lives spent ‘in service’ are lying just below the surface of many great houses; the physical evidence can be seen in surviving servants’ quarters, the material of their everyday life, even their uniforms and possessions.
This account provides a fascinating glimpse at who’s who behind the scenes, from the cook, butler and housekeeper to the footmen, lady’s maids, governesses and tutors, nannies and nursemaids. Giving a fascinating insight into the heirarchy within the servant’s quarters – from the power-wielding cook to the ever-discreet butler – this guide describes how relationships were forged and changed as the gap between upstairs and downstairs was bridged.
Describing their typical working day as well as the holidays, entertainments and pastimes enjoyed on a rare day off, not to mention the whirl of the social season, this previously ‘unwritten history’ recalls vividly the nature of their lives below stairs.