This term’s theme is “The 19th Century”. To help us to explore this period, we visited Audley End, one of the nation’s grand country houses. Our visit focussed on the role of the servant on these great estates.
Working as a servant in a stately home was considered to be a ‘good job’ – mainly because the food was of high quality and clothes were provided in the form of house uniforms – but the hours were long, the pay for most was poor (especially for women) and there was no job security. Servants could be sacked for a trivial misdemeanour or on the whim of the master. It was a time when a long and happy life was for the few, not the many, and those who worked hard to create wealth saw few of the benefits.
It wasn’t until the political changes of the next century that we started to see a fairer society, and Audley End was then taken into public ownership … but that’s another story and another visit, e.g., Manchester in July…
Here are a few “below stairs” photos of our visit: