18 Jun

What The Butler Saw Upstairs And Down

I currently help out as a volunteer in a country house – it’s been open to the public for many years but it has been applauded far more for the wonderful gardens which are world famous.  Anyway, the house has been blessed with a vast amount of heritage lottery funding to enable them to open up the basement area which was the original male servants’ working and sleeping domain.   There is a Butler’s Pantry with original work benches and huge storage cupboards.  In the Footmens’ bedrooms there are beds and basic wardrobes etc.  Although it is still spartan, I can’t help thinking these would seem like ultimate luxury for servants in the 1780s to 1930 period.  The rooms in the upper house are set in different owner time zones and reflect differing fashions and tastes in furniture – that said, it’s all much more luxurious than downstairs with comfort and warmth very much in mind.