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Download Life Below Stairs: In the Victorian & Country House epub

by Siân Evans

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 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 "uwritten history" recalls vividly the nature of their lives below stairs.
Download Life Below Stairs: In the Victorian & Country House epub
ISBN: 1907892117
ISBN13: 978-1907892110
Category: History
Subcategory: Europe
Author: Siân Evans
Language: English
Publisher: National Trust (November 2, 2011)
Pages: 192 pages
ePUB size: 1156 kb
FB2 size: 1153 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 916
Other Formats: lrf txt docx mobi

I wish I could rate this book higher!! It has great photos; reproductions of old photos, as well as modern pics taken in the old houses themselves. The pictures are carefully done, the book is printed on very lovely paper...smooth & cool!

And the info it delivers is good, I'm an amateur 'Victorianist' if I can coin a name, so I'm familiar with some of the houses & source material. But this book added a lot of new detail. It definitely concentrates on the Edwardian, I don't know if there just weren't existent diaries & letters from the earlier Victorian, it's more about the late 1890 through 1910's. But even that is not my reason for the 3 stars. What this book lacks is....continuity, I guess I would call it. It's arranged by job title; the cook & scullery maids, the upper floor maids and footmen, and so on and each section is treated fairly thoroughly. But they don't seem to flow into each other or connect to each other. It's difficult to describe, but it seems like each section is it's own separate essay about a particular job in an Edwardian manor house, as opposed to a cohesive, entire book.

I think it's a great reference book & the pictures add a great deal. But if you're beginning your foray into Victorian life, I would recommend a different title (How to be a Victorian, by Goodman or Inside the Victorian Home by Flanders or Poole's What Charles Dickens Ate...) those are fun & informative reading that I found much more absorbing!
the world of 'downton abbey' and 'upstairs/downstairs' is so different from what most of us, today, can appreciate. between the vast properties and vast wealth it is not an everyday life. but when i watch, i tend to 'attach' to the upstairs' folks more than the downstairs folks. learning more of just what the lives of all of them really entailed i found very interesting. realizing that those downstairs really had few other options for work at that time, which extended from queen victoria's reign and through her son edward's reign, and ended only with the first world war,, was history i had not put into perspective. yes, the upstairs did live lavishly and if i DID live then that is where i;d rather be, but even they lived a very restricted life, especially the women, with the rules of society being very rigid and unforgiving. victoria and edward.....quite a world swirled around them during their reigns and i thoroughly enjoyed seeing the picture from both sides. there is still great wealth inequality in today's world, i am sure there are many whose lives parallel those of the people living upstairs.....and downstairs.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. With information about those who worked "below stairs" sketchy at best, this book did provide some insight into what life may have been like for those employed there. And I learned that being "in service" was an aspiration for the lower classes, not the job of last resort, as I had been led to believe.

The author was knowledgeable and the prose was well written. I didn't give it 5 stars because I felt it really just skimmed the surface, more like a museum would do, which is her business so that makes sense, but I wanted more. I hope that either she publishes another companion book to this one or that someone else does. The lives of the servants is ever so much more interesting to me than the upper crust. After all, without the servants, the "engine" of the estate, the landed gentry would have disappeared! - and I guess they almost have. At least that way of life not longer exists.
A really useful guide for anyone who has watched historical dramas like Downton Abbey. The book gives readers a first hand look at the world of the servants portrayed. Excellent pictures and well written text give the reader good information not readily available elsewhere.
Anyone who loves Downton Abbey or has been fortunate enough to see Upstairs Downstairs, will love this book. It condenses the essence of servant life, whether an anonymous scullery maid or starchy serious butler. Pictures are lovely, text thoughtful, and the book itself is heavy, printed on delicately tinted good quality paper. Chapters cover everything from vermin in the kitchen to Royal visits. Highly recommended as a candid peek into English history!
Lots of information gives a good look at the workings of the Country House. LOTS of photos of different rooms, staff, products used. Well worth the read.
This was a very good read for those interested in this kind of book.
This book was quite informative about so many aspects of everyday life in service. A very interesting read and I definitely recommend it.