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: 6124

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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 Delving into secret diaries, unpublished letters and the neglected service archives of our stately homes, Tessa Boase tells the extraordinary stories of five working women who ran some of Britain's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.
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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: 2092

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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.
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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: 5754

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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.
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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: 3119

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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.
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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: 6217

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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.
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The Address

A Novel

Author: Fiona Davis

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1524742007

Category: Fiction

Page: 368

View: 6246

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From the author of The Dollhouse and The Masterpiece comes the compelling national bestselling 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. 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 for Sara Smythe, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America. The opportunity to be the female manager of the Dakota. 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. One hundred years later, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities: Fresh out of rehab, the former interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Bailey's grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden, yet 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 of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in...and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum—a madwoman named Sara Smythe. A century 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 nightlife's free-flowing drinks and cocaine—and take refuge in the Upper West Side's gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich, and often as tragic, as the Dakota's can't hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers inside could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head.
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Pearls Before Poppies

The True Story of the Red Cross Pearls

Author: Rachel Trethewey

Publisher: The History Press

ISBN: 0750987170

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 2620

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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.
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