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Manor House Rebecca Smith
"One day in town I had my bag and umbrella - a little girl ran up and said "Are you Mary Poppins?" I just nodded. She ran away beaming!". Becky, housemaid
Rebecca Smith
THE PROJECT|THE HOUSE|THE PEOPLE|EDWARDIAN LIFE|YOU IN 1905|TREATS|SNOB QUIZ
Rebecca Smith

Watch the video diaries

Becky: On Entering the House

Housemaids Jess and Becky with their boss, housekeeper Mrs Davies
Housemaids Jess and Becky with their boss, housekeeper Mrs Davies

Edwardian Life

A Typical Day in House

How to Address the Family

Upstairs
Downstairs
The People: Rebecca Smith

The First Housemaid: Daily Duties

Morning Duties

  • You must rise at half-past six and wash and dress in your print dress, with your hair tied neatly back under your cap.

  • Your bed must be made and you must be ready for work within half an hour of waking.

  • At seven o'clock you must wake the Housekeeper with a cup of tea. You must also provide her with hot water with which to wash and then resume your cleaning duties in the Reception Rooms.

  • You must then clean, with the assistance of the Second Housemaid, the family's Reception Rooms. The curtains in the Morning Room, Tea Room, Dining Room and the Master's Business Room must be opened. Only the shutters in the Drawing Room must be opened, the curtains must never be touched. In the Ballroom, neither the curtains, nor the shutters must ever be opened. All surfaces must be dusted and polished and any out of place furniture returned to its original position. The Second Housemaid is responsible for cleaning out, laying and lighting the fires, and you are responsible for the lighter cleaning duties.

  • At precisely eight o'clock you must wake Miss Anson by bringing up her Early Morning Tea tray, prepared by the Kitchen Maid, and her correspondence. You will also provide her with hot water with which to wash.

  • Servants' Breakfast is served in the Servants' Hall at a quarter-past eight.

  • After Breakfast you will help Miss Anson to dress and also dress her hair. Before Morning Prayers, the Housekeeper will want to inspect the Reception Rooms, in your presence, to check the standard your work.

  • Attendance of Family Prayers in the Main Hall at a quarter past nine is compulsory for all Servants.

  • The Family will take Breakfast in the Dining Room at half-past nine. During this time you must begin work cleaning and tidying their Bedrooms and Bathrooms. The Second Housemaid will have already lit the fires and emptied the chamber pots before the Family members have risen and dressed. Beds will need to be made, rooms dusted and aired, and wash-stands emptied.

  • After the Family has finished Breakfast, you and the Second Housemaid must clean the china that the Footmen will have cleared from the table. If you have not finished cleaning the Family's Bedrooms you must stop and complete them later. The Housekeeper will check the china back into her cupboard, undamaged.

  • Tea is served in the Servants' Hall at eleven o'clock.

  • After Tea you must resume your cleaning duties in the Bedrooms. The Second Housemaid should assist you when she has finished cleaning the Upper Servants' Bedrooms, and the other "Below Stairs" rooms.

  • Servants' Dinner is served at midday in the Servants' Hall.

Afternoon Duties

  • By one o'clock you should have finished cleaning the Family's Bedrooms. You must be present while the Housekeeper makes her rounds so that anything she finds fault with can be quickly rectified.

  • After the Family's Luncheon, you and the Second Housemaid must clean the china that the Footmen will have cleared from the table. The Housekeeper will check each item back into her cupboard.

  • Providing your duties are completed, you may spend between half-past two and four o'clock at your leisure. However, you might on occasion, be obliged to do some ironing or light needlework during these hours.

  • Tea is served in the Servants' Hall at four o'clock, which you must attend dressed in your black afternoon uniform.

  • After tea you should collect soiled laundry from throughout the house and check everything is as it should be in the Family Rooms, before the Family is served their Tea at five o'clock.

  • At six o'clock you must clean the china after the Family's Afternoon Tea with the assistance of the Second Housemaid. The Housekeeper will again check each item back into her cupboard and ensure that it is unbroken.

  • You will ensure that there is hot water in the appropriate Bedrooms for when the Family and their Guests dress for Dinner at seven o'clock. You must then check that all is in order in the Family Rooms before they come down to dine.

  • At eight o'clock when the Family are at Dinner, you must prepare the Family's Bedrooms for the evening, making sure bedcovers are turned down, fires are made up and the rooms are clean and tidy. The Housekeeper will again be making rounds to check your work.

  • You and the Second Housemaid should lay out the Family's Early Morning Tea trays for use in the morning.

  • Both you and the Second Housemaid must clean the china used at the Family's Dinner, which the Footmen will have cleared from the table. As before the Housekeeper will check back each item.

  • Supper is served in the Servants' Hall at half-past nine.

  • After Supper you and the Second Housemaid should finish cleaning the china, and in the cold weather make up hot water bottles to be placed in the Family and Upper Servants' beds to warm them. When these tasks are finished, unless the Family has any further requirements, the remaining part of the evening can be spent at your leisure.

 


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