Life Below Stairs in the TwentiethHardback
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In 1931 domestic service remained the largest female occupation in Britain. It is frowned upon these days, owing to the class divide it has come to represent, which is reflected in the portrayals of masters and servants in books and on the screen. In actual fact, it was seen as the perfect way to equip young women with the skills necessary to become good wives and mothers, and continues to be a career taken up by many people today. But what do we know about how these girls felt when taking up these positions in other people's houses, or how they were treated? Using first-hand accounts and reminiscences by former servants from Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Scotland and Wales, as well as official records and newspaper reports, this is a study of "Life Below Stairs" from 1900 to the new millennium. Many of the country's major stately homes are featured in the book, including Chatsworth in Derbyshire, Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Petworth in Sussex and Shugborough in Staffordshire.