Synopses & Reviews
From the cook, butler, and housekeeper to the footman, lady's maid and nanny, this is a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of some of Britain's grandest houses. An entertaining social history, steering the reader through the minefield of etiquette and hierarchy that kept Britain's great houses running like clockwork. A bygone era is brought vividly to live through letters, journals, interviews, lively descriptions, and stunning photography of the places and possessions left behind. 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 quartersfrom the powerwielding cook to the everdiscreet butlerthis 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 "uwritten history" recalls vividly the nature of their lives below stairs.