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Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants

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Overview

UPSTAIRS, an Edwardian home would have been a picture of elegance and calm, adorned with social gatherings and extravagantly envisioned dinner parties.

DOWNSTAIRS, it was a hive of domestic activity, supported by a body of staff painstakingly devoted to ensuring the smooth running of the household.

Brimming with family secrets, society scandal, and of course elaborate parties, dresses, and social customs, the world of an aristocratic Edwardian ...

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Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants

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Overview

UPSTAIRS, an Edwardian home would have been a picture of elegance and calm, adorned with social gatherings and extravagantly envisioned dinner parties.

DOWNSTAIRS, it was a hive of domestic activity, supported by a body of staff painstakingly devoted to ensuring the smooth running of the household.

Brimming with family secrets, society scandal, and of course elaborate parties, dresses, and social customs, the world of an aristocratic Edwardian household as depicted on the hit show Downton Abbey has captivated millions.  But what was life really like for the people who kept such a household running: the servants?  In Life Below Stairs, international bestselling author Alison Maloney takes readers behind the scenes to reveal a lively and colorful picture of what went on "downstairs," describing servants’ daily life in this now-vanished world.

Detailing everything from household structure, pay and conditions, special duties, and rules and regulations, to perks, entertainment, and even romance, Maloney examines the drudgery and hardships below stairs, as well as the rewards and pleasures.  Thoroughly researched and reliably informed, this charmingly illustrated volume also contains first-hand stories from the staff of the time, making it a must-read for anyone interested in the lifestyle and conduct of a bygone era.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fascinating." — Daily Mail (UK)

"A fascinating slice of British History." — Readers Digest

"A fascinating new book." — Daily Express (UK)

"A captivating snapshot of a different world and time." — Sainsburys Magazine (UK)

"All you need to know about life below stairs." — The Countryman (UK)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250017659
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/24/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 392,381
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

ALISON MALONEY is a journalist and author, whose books include the international bestseller The Mum's Book. As well as a long stint on The Sunday Post newspaper, she worked as a children's book editor for two years. Alison lives in Kent, UK, with her husband and two children.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Chapter 1 Social Background 11

Chapter 2 Household Structure 17

Chapter 3 Pay and Conditions 42

Chapter 4 A Day in the Life of a Country House 72

Chapter 5 Toil and Technique 93

Chapter 6 Special Occasions 111

Chapter 7 Code of Conduct 135

Chapter 8 Hiring and Firing 145

Chapter 9 The High Life 163

Conclusion 178

Sources and Bibliography 183

Picture Acknowledgements 186

Index 187

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 18, 2013

    For fans of Upstairs, Downstairs & Downtown Abbey (ME!), com

    For fans of Upstairs, Downstairs & Downtown Abbey (ME!), comes Life Below Stairs. It's a fabulous, fascinating look at the true lives of servants who served the rich and fabulously wealthy.




    It's definitely written towards fans of the two mentioned series - it's a rather light look, doesn't get into a lot of details, and doesn't hit upon any of the negative aspects of being a servant - like 80 hour work weeks for no pay or sleep or freedom. Anyone who really knows the time period well, or the history of servants, will find this book too light to really enjoy, but for someone like me who was introduced to the time period through Downtown Abbey, it was a great read, though I really do wish there was MORE as the volume is pretty small.




    The photographs and letters were a nice touch.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Loved this

    As a true follower of Downton Abbey, I found this book to explain why things were being done as they were. I am grateful to all the women and the advances that were made. Reading comments of ladies who lived in Edwardian times was really interesting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Life below stairs: true lives of Edwardian servants

    Very interesting accounting of what life was llke for the rich and those who took care of them. It was a hard life but it was also the way many generations
    passesd this life down to their children. I would reccomend this book to my friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Enlightening

    Entertaining read between Downton Abbey seasons!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Yeyy wdhgeywgn

    Ytuy &:/69

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Informative.

    Nice fact based book. A quick read. A+.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 15, 2013

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