Warriors B2G1 Free
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Q&A | May 12, 2015

    Aleksandar Hemon: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Aleksandar Hemon



    Describe your latest book. The Making of Zombie Wars is a roller-coaster ride of violence and sex. The main character, Joshua Levin, is a modestly... Continue »
    1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      The Making of Zombie Wars

      Aleksandar Hemon 9780374203412

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$8.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Home & Garden Cooking and Food- Gastronomic Literature

Other titles in the Below Stairs series:

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"

by

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" Cover

ISBN13: 9781250005441
ISBN10: 1250005442
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 2 left in stock at $8.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants portrayed in Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, Margaret Powells classic memoir of her time in service, Below Stairs, is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high. Powell first arrived at the servants' entrance of one of those great houses in the 1920s.  As a kitchen maid - the lowest of the low - she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and bootlaces to be ironed. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark. It was a far cry from her childhood on the beaches of Hove, where money and food were scarce, but warmth and laughter never were. Yet from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlormaid, fired for being seduced by her mistresss nephew, Margarets tales of her time in service are told with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye for the prejudices of her situation. Margaret Powell's true story of a life spent in service is a fascinating “downstairs” portrait of the glittering, long-gone worlds behind the closed doors of Downton Abbey and 165 Eaton Place.

Review:

"If this book was the basis for the wildly successful Upstairs, Downstairs television series, then we must ensure that the show's writers and producers get all the credit they deserve. Here, the stories are lackluster and occasionally insulting to anyone under the age of 65, when Powell starts in on 'kids these days.' Powell, the second of seven children, grew up in a small English town where class separation was rampant. Despite her claims that it was better back then, money was tight, the family was too big, and she was ushered into domestic service at 15. Her use of many oblique references — like 'hair sieves' and 'aspic jelly' — will likely leave her readers cool or confused; the book is, above all, a litany of work the author hated to do. Powell fulfilled her lifelong ambition by marrying and, fortunately for us, left domestic service soon after that. Fans of the TV show who hope to find the same illuminating detail and descriptions of period life will be sorely disappointed. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

MARGARET POWELL was born in 1907 in Hove, and left school at the age of 13 to start working. At 14, she got a job in a hotel laundry room, and a year later went into service as a kitchen maid, eventually progressing to the position of cook, before marrying a milkman called Albert. In 1968 the first volume of her memoirs, Below Stairs, was published to instant success and turned her into a celebrity. She died in 1984.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Silvers Reviews, December 23, 2012 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
What a delightful book even though the subject of being a kitchen maid in a wealthy household was far from delightful. The author had a sense of humor that made the book fast paced, funny, and interesting.

This book was the memoir of a "real" kitchen maid. It definitely was not a pleasant life, but the author kept the book light and factual. The household staff would work from sunup to sunset with no conveniences that we have today in the kitchen or for cleaning to a shine.
The staff would have to fire up the coal stove early in the morning, cook and cleanup nonstop all day and with no appreciation from their employer. All food had to be made from scratch, but the food definitely was not healthy, though. Households used a lot of butter, eggs, and cream and other fat-filled ingredients.

The author explained the drudgery and hardships of the maids and household staff in a wealthy household and how the majority of the staff were from poor families that couldn't keep their own young children in their household because they had no money and not enough food to feed them.

It definitely was not a glamorous job, and there was even a class structure within the staff. I wonder if it is still like that today among household staff. I would guess yes. The author also talked about how she never had a good self esteem because of how early she had to begin work and how she was treated for the majority of her life.

Despite the difficulty of this job and what it does to people's lives emotionally this is most definitely a book to read if you enjoy the lives of the English and any household that has a staff for their everyday living.

I give this book a cleanly scrubbed and well cooked 5/5. ENJOY!!

My son bought this book for me because he knows I enjoy learning about the lives of English household staff members. This is ONE of my Christmas presents for him.....he wanted me to read this by the end of the year. :) I am glad I did.

Merry Christmas, Mark. :)
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
galloway.v, January 26, 2012 (view all comments by galloway.v)
I hate to put a damper on this book, as the information is very acceptable and the book is for the most part easily read. But, as I am reading, I detect a very strong undercurrent of someone who was basically disgruntled with her job. Ms. Powell makes every duty that she had, to be extrodinairly difficult It does not give (right or wrong) the warm feeling that Downton Abbey and/or Upstairs, Downstairs conveys.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781250005441
Author:
Powell, Margaret
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Biography-Women
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Below Stairs
Series Volume:
1
Publication Date:
20120131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

Other books you might like

  1. The Sopranos Family Cookbook Used Hardcover $5.50
  2. Available Dark Used Hardcover $11.50

Related Subjects


Biography » Cooking
Biography » General
Biography » Women
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » Social and Economic History
History and Social Science » World History » England » Historical Biographies

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9781250005441 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "If this book was the basis for the wildly successful Upstairs, Downstairs television series, then we must ensure that the show's writers and producers get all the credit they deserve. Here, the stories are lackluster and occasionally insulting to anyone under the age of 65, when Powell starts in on 'kids these days.' Powell, the second of seven children, grew up in a small English town where class separation was rampant. Despite her claims that it was better back then, money was tight, the family was too big, and she was ushered into domestic service at 15. Her use of many oblique references — like 'hair sieves' and 'aspic jelly' — will likely leave her readers cool or confused; the book is, above all, a litany of work the author hated to do. Powell fulfilled her lifelong ambition by marrying and, fortunately for us, left domestic service soon after that. Fans of the TV show who hope to find the same illuminating detail and descriptions of period life will be sorely disappointed. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.