Life Below Stairs : In the Victorian and Edwardian Country House Hardback
by Sian Evans
Part of the National Trust History & Heritage series
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.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 192 pages, 200 colour
- Publisher: Pavilion Books
- Publication Date: 15/09/2011
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9781907892110
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Review by EricaSJ
An enjoyable read for the Upstairs, Downstairs/Downton Abbey fan, as well as anyone else who is interested in social history. The writing style is simple and factual, and the book is organized well. For these reasons, although it isn't specifically a reference book, it would make a wonderful resource for anyone researching this time period.The really standout feature is the photography. You might expect a book like this to be filled only with drawings from the period, or grainy black and white photos. However, many of the photos are in full color, showing scenes from several National Trust buildings being maintained as museums. It would be hard to visualize exactly what a Brushing Room might be, but the photos tell the story. In addition, there are period photos of household staff and their families.