Born and bred in South Devon, Rob graduated last year from the University
of London with a BSc in genetics. He's since done a number of temporary
jobs but has yet to find his vocation. He didn't claim to know much about
the Edwardian era or the job he would be doing in the house, saying:
"I just thought the project would be a bit of a laugh".
Rob had worked for a time in a hotel in Torquay, where he learned
all about silver service waiting - a useful apprenticeship for his role in
Manor House. He admits to being 'something of a
peacock - I have been known to strut', which again was a quality not
unimportant in the lexicon of footmanly skills.
The footmen, Charlie and Rob have a dual role in the household - while doing a lot of hard manual work, they're expected to look good at the same time. Manual work included carrying coal upstairs for the fires and blocks of ice into the storeroom, as well as washing up the glasses, fine china, the silver and plates that the family used.
As well as having to work hard downstairs under the direction of the butler, footmen had an ornamental role upstairs, serving at the table, assisting guests, riding at the back of the carriage in imitation of their forebears who would run alongside their master's vehicle.
Footmen brought prestige to the families they worked for. Being waited on at dinner by a manservant carried higher status than a mere parlour maid. A tall, handsome, liveried footman, his posture erect, his hair powdered on grand occasions, who was confident in the rules of etiquette and served adroitly, brought glamour to a household.