Do you like Downton Abbey? Ever watched Upstairs Downstairs? What life is really like below stairs… it’s no garden party!
Word Wenches: The Well-dressed Maid.
Up before dawn, the servants of an aristocratic household found the work tedious. Likely, the lower servants worked two hours before he/she was permitted to sit to his own meager breakfast.
The kitchen maid began her day with lighting the cooking fire. To do so in a cast iron stove, she must first rake out the cinders and sweep the bars, the hobs, and the hearth free of dust. She would then clean the stove with a round-headed brush and black lead mixed with some water to make a “paste.” When the black lead dried, it was polished with a special brush, which was designed to get into the groves of the ornamental work. At least one weekly, she also swept away the accumulated soot from the flues. Generally, she was expected to bring the cook the woman’s morning tea.
The housemaids began their…
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