The Housekeeper's Tale

The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House

Author: Tessa Boase

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 9781781314104

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 2997

Working as a housekeeper was one of the most prestigious jobs a nineteenth and early twentieth century woman could want - and also one of the toughest. A far cry from the Downton Abbey fiction, the real life Mrs. Hughes was up against capricious mistresses, low pay, no job security and grueling physical labor. Until now, her story has never been told. The Housekeeper's Tale reveals the personal sacrifices, bitter disputes and driving ambition that shaped these women's careers. Delving into secret diaries, unpublished letters and the neglected service archives of our stately homes, Tessa Boase tells the extraordinary stories of five working women who ran some of Britain's most prominent households. There is Dorothy Doar, Regency housekeeper for the obscenely wealthy 1st Duke and Duchess of Sutherland at Trentham Hall, Staffordshire. There is Sarah Wells, a deaf and elderly Victorian in charge of Uppark, West Sussex. Ellen Penketh is Edwardian cook-housekeeper at the sociable but impecunious Erddig Hall in the Welsh borders. Hannah Mackenzie runs Wrest Park in Bedfordshire â?? Britain's first country-house war hospital, bankrolled by playwright J. M. Barrie. And there is Grace Higgens, cook-housekeeper to the Bloomsbury set at Charleston farmhouse in East Sussex for half a century â?? an era defined by the Second World War. Revelatory, gripping and unexpectedly poignant, The Housekeeper's Tale champions the invisible women who ran the English country house.

The Housekeeper's Tale - Dorothy Doar's Story

The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House

Author: Tessa Boase

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 1781314136

Category: Country homes

Page: 48

View: 7063

This is Dorothy Doar’s story, one of five stories that make up The Housekeeper’s Tale. As one of the cabal that ran the estate of the Duke of Sutherland, this is an evocative and poignant story providing a moving insight into the life of a woman whose life was lost amongst account books and inventories. Her defining moment is that she was a housekeeper who, after fourteen years’ loyal service, fell spectacularly foul of her employers. The year was 1832, a time of great political upheaval in Britain. Dorothy Doar was a small but vital cog in the enormous machine servicing the wealthiest, most powerful and probably most disliked family of her day. Her uniform was the black bombazine dress and bunch of keys that symbolized all that Victorian society held dear. Though Mrs Doar proved that these symbols of sobriety, dependability, and morality were just a cloak. Inside, she was human.

The Housekeeper's Tale - Hannah Mackenzie's Story

The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House

Author: Tessa Boase

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 1781314160

Category: Country homes

Page: 48

View: 3593

This is Hannah Mackenzie’s story, one of the five stories that make up The Housekeeper’s Tale. Hannah Mackenzie’s career in domestic service encompassed the Victorian industrialist middle classes, the Edwardian conservative nouveau riche, the liberal aristocracy during the Great War and the American super-rich of the Roaring Twenties. This story shines a spotlight on one year of Hannah’s profession – 1914 to 1915. Wrest Park in Bedfordshire was the first country-house war hospital to receive wounded soldiers from the Great War. This first year of the war, with a lifetime’s worth of experience, exposed the Honorable Nan Herbert and her housekeeper to all of the horrors of modern warfare. Ultimately, it provides a moving story of great hardship and loss as well as glimpses of happiness and even love, and is a powerful testament to the actions of women when their country needed them most.

The Housekeeper's Tale - Sarah Wells's Story

The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House

Author: Tessa Boase

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 1781314152

Category: Country homes

Page: 48

View: 1425

This is Sarah Wells’s story, one of the five stories that make up The Housekeeper’s Tale. Mrs Wells was bad at accounts, bad at managing her girls, ill experienced in buying stores and economising – and this was only the opinion of her son, the writer H. G. Wells. Despite this accepted view of her housekeeping abilities, Sarah Wells managed to maintain her tenure at Uppark, West Sussex, for 13 years, having arrived in 1880. It was during this half of the nineteenth century that was the era of wealth creation for the Victorians: the railway age. Presiding over a home where the master of the house had married the estate dairymaid, this transition from downstairs to upstairs was most unusual and risked sending the household into chaos. What followed was positively stranger than fiction, as her own son expressed in some of his published works.

The Housekeeper's Tale - Ellen Penketh's Story

The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House

Author: Tessa Boase

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 1781314144

Category: Country homes

Page: 48

View: 1908

This is Ellen Penketh’s story, one of the five stories that make up The Housekeeper’s Tale. Erddig – or Erthig, to the Welsh – was an anchor in a fast-changing world. For five years it was home to Ellen Penketh, whose infamy remains in the estate’s archives as ‘the thief cook’. In 1907 the Yorke family were caught up in a very public scandal – a scandal that did deep and profound damage to their patriarchal belief in staff loyalty. Mrs Penketh’s tenure before this domestic unraveling bore all the signs of a long and most successful one and tells the tale of a women who was cherished for her Charlotte russe and even, initially, held a close relationship with her mistress. Just how this significant fall from grace came about is one that remains shrouded in mystery, but its impact was laid bare for all to witness.

The Housekeeper's Tale - Grace Higgens's Story

The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House

Author: Tessa Boase

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 1781314179

Category: Country homes

Page: 48

View: 3118

This is Grace Higgens’s story, one of the five stories that make up The Housekeeper’s Tale. This unique history tracks the housekeeper’s fortunes during a period of relentless social change – starting shortly after the end of World War One and retiring the same year that Upstairs, Downstairs made its televised debut. She enters haughtily, still in the prime of her youth at 16; she exits a mature figure in a nylon housecoat and a perm, down on arthritic knees with a scrubbing brush. That figure is Grace Higgens. Her employment spanned 51 years working for Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s family at their home Charleston. Mrs Higgens’s story maps the flux of 20th Century society and charts the demise of social mores that had been in place up until the Great War. Giving half a century of her life to service, all the while trying to forge a family for herself quartered in the attic above the renowned Bloomsbury set. This is a tale of the adventure of adolescence and growing up, but coming to terms with loss and the difficulties of love and loyalty.

The Address

A Novel

Author: Fiona Davis

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1524742007

Category: Fiction

Page: 368

View: 1628

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota—New York City’s most famous residence. After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else...and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children. In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her “cousin” Melinda—Camden’s biological great-granddaughter—will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in...and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City—and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich—and often tragic—as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head. With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives—and lies—of the beating hearts within.

Pearls Before Poppies

The Story of the Red Cross Pearls

Author: Rachel Trethewey

Publisher: The History Press

ISBN: 0750987170

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 4622

In February 1918, when the First World War was still being bitterly fought, prominent society member Lady Northcliffe conceived an idea to help raise funds for the British Red Cross. Using her husband’s newspapers, The Times and the Daily Mail, she ran a campaign to collect enough pearls to create a necklace, intending to raffle the piece to raise money. The campaign captured the public’s imagination. Over the next nine months nearly 4,000 pearls poured in from around the world. Pearls were donated in tribute to lost brothers, husbands and sons, and groups of women came together to contribute one pearl on behalf of their communities. Those donated ranged from priceless heirlooms –one had survived the sinking of the Titanic – to imperfect yet treasured trinkets. Working with Christie’s and the International Fundraising Committee of the British Red Cross, author Rachel Trethewey expertly weaves the touching story of a generation of women who gave what they had to aid the war effort and commemorate their losses.

The Cyclopædia of Wit and Humor

Containing Choice and Characteristic Selections from the Writings of the Most Eminent Humorists of America, Ireland, Scotland, and England ...

Author: William Evans Burton

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Wit and humor

Page: N.A

View: 634

Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama

Author: Ebenezer Cobham Brewer

Publisher: The Minerva Group, Inc.

ISBN: 9781410213341

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 588

View: 6833

Originally published in 1892, "the object of this Handbook is to supply readers and speakers with a lucid, but very brief account of such names as are used in allusions and references, whether by poets or prose writers; - to furnish those who consult it with the plot of popular dramas, the story of epic poems, and the outline of well-known tales. The number of dramatic plots sketched out is many hundreds. Another striking and interesting feature of the book is the revelation of the source from which dramatists and romancers have derived their stories, and the strange repetitions of historic incidents. It has been borne in mind throughout that it is not enough to state a fact. It must be stated attractively, and the character described must be drawn characteristically if the reader is to appreciate it, and feel an interest in what he reads." This work, an American reprint of The Reader's Handbook by E. Cobham Brewer, ..".while retaining all of the original material that can interest and aid the English-speaking student, gives also 'characters and sketches found in American novels, poetry and drama.'"

The Publisher

Author: N.A

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Bibliography

Page: N.A

View: 7287

British Books

Author: N.A

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Bibliography

Page: N.A

View: 2719