Servants: A Downstairs View of Twentieth-century Britain

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A&C Black, 2013 - Domestics - 385 pages
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Servants: A Downstairs View of Twentieth-century Britain is the social history of the last century through the eyes of those who served. From the butler, the footman, the maid and the cook of 1900 to the au pairs, cleaners and childminders who took their place seventy years later, a previously unheard class offers a fresh perspective on a dramatic century. Here, the voices of servants and domestic staff, largely ignored by history, are at last brought to life: their daily household routines, attitudes towards their employers, and to each other, throw into sharp and intimate relief the period of feverish social change through which they lived.Sweeping in its scope, extensively researched and brilliantly observed, Servants is an original and fascinating portrait of twentieth-century Britain; an authoritative history that will change and challenge the way we look at society.
 

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Contents

Prefa
1
The Dainty Life
13
A Seat in the Hall
25
Centralising the Egg Yolks
34
Popinjays and Mob Caps
41
The Desire for Perfection
50
Some Poor Girls Got To Go Up and Down
59
The Sacred Trust
81
Outer Show and Inner Life
191
Bachelor Establishments Are Notoriously Comfortable
208
The Question of the Inner Life
218
Do They Really Drink Out of Their Saucers?
229
Of Alien Origin
236
A New Jerusalem
249
The Housewife Militant
265
The Shape of Things to Come
286

Silent Obsequious and Omnipresent
100
Bowing and Scraping
113
The Age of Ambivalence
139
Dont Think Your Life Will Be Any Different to Mine
149
It Was Exploitation But It Worked
161
Tall Strong Healthy and Keen to Work
170
The Mechanical Maid
180
We Dont Want Them Days Again
297
We Like It Because the Past Is
316
Notes 317
352
Acknowledgements
369
iX
371
113
378
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Lucy Lethbridge has written for a number of publications and is also the author of several children's books, one of which, Who Was Ada Lovelace?, won the 2002 Blue Peter Award for non-fiction. She lives in London.

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