Manor House Ken Skelton
"When you see films like Titanic, you want to smell the smells and to know what that flat beer really tastes like. I'll can do that now - and I like maids." Kenny, hallboy
Ken Skelton
Ken Skelton

Watch the video diaries

The Hallboy: Daily Duties

Kenny and Tristan (the groom) relax at the fete
Kenny and Tristan (the groom) relax at the fete

Edwardian Life

A Typical Day in the House

How to Address the Family

The People: Ken Skelton

Kenny: Thoughts After Leaving the House, 2002

What expectations did you have about entering Manor House?
I had expectations of the house being full of frisky young maids, large servings of vegetables and that was it. However the reality proved a little different.

Do you think that taking part has changed you?
It has in subtle ways such as I can now carry a simple task out fully as opposed to doing half a job. It's made me a little more thankful for how easy I've got it now instead of how bad I had it in Manderston

Has anyone said that you have changed since you have returned to the 21st Century?
Everyone says that I have changed - however I fail to see it. However I am now [at the time of writing] living with Ellen and loving every minute of it

What do you feel you've learnt?
How to pluck chickens, silver serve, lay an Edwardian table for seven courses, clean up horse cack, sneak around with maids, put a stiff collar on, clean silver, go hungry, get drunk and I also now know what flat beer tastes like.

Have you remained friends or stayed in contact with anyone from the household? Why?
I have stayed in touch with Ellen for obvious reasons, I've met with Antonia, Charles a couple of times and with everyone once in London. Staying in touch is important as we went through so much together.

I have kept in touch with Mr Edgar since. It feels strange seeing him without him wearing his suit. It's nice to still see him though as he's such an interesting chap.

What did you enjoy most?
I enjoyed the camaraderie of the whole situation. The fun of not knowing anything about the period and having to learn it so quick. I also enjoyed getting drunk in Edwardian clothes, riding back on Edwardian bikes and getting really told off for it after.

What did you like least?
The hypocrisy and two-sided natures of people - it annoyed me as you can't bond with people if you know they're constantly trying to shaft you.

What did you find the hardest aspect of the role you assumed?
The fact that I was the lowest of the low, the fact that people could do wrongful things that you prove are wrong - other people see they are wrong - but nevertheless you're worthless and you have to put up with it.

What did you miss most from the 21st century? Did you ever give in to temptation?
Me cheat? Never. Oh alright, just a few times - cigarettes, Bailey's, lighters and processed cheese.

Do you think that the 21st century can learn anything from the Edwardian era?
No, no and no. The 21st Century knows everything the Edwardian Era had to offer. We just choose to ignore it as for every good issue about the Edwardian Era, the 21st Century has a thousand!

What did you like and dislike most about the Edwardian era?
I didn't like the way that people were oppressed, used and bullied into supporting the 'Big People' into whatever social climbing they needed to do.

If you could have your time at the Manderston again is there any one thing that you would have done differently?
Not one thing.

Did you find that the Edwardian setting changed the way that men and women related to each other? How do you feel about it?
I feel that women are just as respected as males in modern society - however in Edwardian society things were different. I think it was shocking, the houses would have run much better if women were used for their full potential.

Any other stories you want to tell?
My fondest memory is of when I went fishing at Manderston and caught some cracking fish...

Only joking. My fondest memory is looked across the Cheviot Hills with Ellen by my side. The sight was a magnificent one, which I will never forget.

UPDATE: 2003
Kenny works in the service department at Single Point Communications. He looks back on his experience fondly, because "I met Ellen there. We're not going out anymore, but we're really good friends now. Also I made lots of other friends there..." Kenny is still in touch with Ellen, Antonia, Charlie and Hugh Edgar, who plays a "fatherly role".


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