Manor House Jessica Rawlinson
"People in my position didn't have much status.
I'm not used to that, and I'm a bit gobby!"
Jess, second housemaid
Jessica Rawlinson
Jessica Rawlinson

Watch the video diaries

The Second Housemaid: Daily Duties

The three housemaids (from left) Erika, Becky and Jess
The three housemaids (from left) Erika, Becky and Jess

Edwardian Life

A Typical Day in the House

How to Address the Family

The People:span class="headerlife">Jessica Rawlinson

Jess: Thoughts After Leaving the House

What expectations did you have about entering Manor House?
I tried not to have any expectations, because I didn't know what to expect. I did not want to build my hopes up too high because if I knew what if was like before I don't know if I would have done it.

Do you think that taking part has changed you?
I haven't changed as a person, but I do have a greater appreciation for my life and how fortunate I am to live in a century where opportunities are open to both men and women.

Has anyone said that you have changed since you have returned to the 21st Century?
The only comments I received was on how quiet I was when I first came back. I was missing everyone terribly and felt unsure of what to do with myself really!

What do you feel you've learnt?
I can't say that I have learnt any big life lessons, it was more of a practical learning.

My fires! (everyone say aaaaaaah!....ooooooooh!)

I loved doing the fires - I had never been successful with lighting barbeques, let alone lay, light and keep it going.

Have you remained friends or stayed in contact with anyone from the household? Why?
I still speak to all the lower staff plus Mr Edgar, Mrs Davies and M Dubiard, they are the people I spent 90% or my time with everyday for three months - its not easy to break from them so quickly.

What did you enjoy most?
I loved meeting and getting to know all the lower staff. We all got on sooo well and had many great times together. They were definitely one of the main reasons that kept me going through it all.

What did you like least?
Apart from the unsociable hours, poor pay, back-breaking work, the total mental and physical exhaustion that made you want to die or cry whichever came first, I can't really think what was so unlikeable...

What did you find the hardest aspect of the role you assumed?
I can be pretty skanky, don't always have to be clean and everything, but taking on the role of 'fire-girl' proved to be quite a challenge.

At home I wouldn't even light the barbeque, so being in charge of the cleaning and lighting of fires took a while to get used to.

What did you miss most from the 21st century? Did you ever give in to temptation?
My family and fiance, soft as it sounds. Luck as we are in this century if I need to speak to my family I just pick up the phone or drive over whereas in the house I didn't have the means to do any of that.

Do you think that the 21st century can learn anything from the Edwardian era?
We can only learn by what we do and the mistakes we make we should never look back, and personally, as a woman, I much prefer the century I am in!

What did you like and dislike most about the Edwardian era?
I couldn't grasp how people in that era would love their life. Work, sleep, eat, work - the same old pattern until they got married. I don't think I will ever understand - and to be honest I will never have to (fortunately).

If you could have your time at the Manderston again is there any one thing that you would have done differently?
I don't think if I would have the time again I would change anything. At the time decisions I made were based on how I felt whether right or wrong and I wouldn't change that.

Did you find that the Edwardian setting changed the way that men and women related to each other? How do you feel about it?
As much as segregation of men and women was enforced, ultimately, being 21st century people and it's a hard habit to break, we would end up working as a team and standing up for our rights.


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