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A servants lot.


swindon wilts

Delivering here today.....Brochures printed for the National Trust.

Even though i was only there briefly it was a lovely experience.

The brochure was about the life and times of the servants etc who worked on the estate in past years.......here goes....

There is a vast network of tunnels under the house that the staff would use...the amount of staff was incredible..24 grooms,25 gardeners...the estate had its own fire brigade,two upholsterers.
Food wise the house was virtually self sufficient,venison,game,eels,fish and a plot of land that grew up to 400 different vegetables and an orchard that grew a hundred variety of pears:eek:
Milk and poultry eggs and cheese were in abundance.
If you got a job at Petworth you were very well looked after.....the staff and servants were well fed.....basicly they ate the same food as the gentry.
Old menus revealed that roasts were eaten on tuesdays,thursdays and Sundays....this was a huge operation,originally a lad would turn the roasting pin but in Victorian times it was turned by machine...though someone would continually baste it.
The chef was nearly always French and a house this size would also have a pastry chef...the junior kitchen maid was always first in at 5.30 am to light the fire.
The strange thing to me was that the kitchen staff and maids and all the servants had there main meal at 12.15...before serving the the meal to the gentry and any guests at 1pm.....imagine doing that work on a full stomach:eek:
The scullery was fitted with a big steam boiler in Victorian times...the Coutershaw Engine in Petworth transformed the scullery,it enabled fish and vegetables to be steamed...along with puddings,hams were hung in the scullery up to a year for taste.
The weighing room recieved delicacy's such as truffles,turbot,sole oyesters and many spices...which were checked off carefully on delivery.
There were male and female quarters for all the servants and staff...it was instant dismisal for anyone caught in the wrong quarters.redf)
The upper servants had a privelidged job...the house steward was a gentleman...the buffer between the owners and staff..must admit i hadnt even heard of a head steward on estates....he controled the whole operation...this included organising the chef and housekeeper,who in turn looked after the servants.
It was really a massive operation all round,dozens of trained staff and more humble servants were all geared up to look after the House and the few grand owners and occupants......shooting party's and riotious party's were had which made the job a lot harder..............but for many of these workers it meant a small wage,good food,a chance of climbing the work ladder................and no doubt love blossomed on many occasions on that out of bounds staircase;)