By Margaret Powell
Arriving on the nice homes of Nineteen Twenties London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's lifestyles in carrier used to be approximately to start… As a kitchen maid – the bottom of the low – she entered a completely new international; one among stoves to be blacked, greens to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, or even bootlaces to be ironed. paintings began at 5.30am and went on till after darkish. It used to be a much cry from her youth at the shorelines of Hove, the place funds and meals have been scarce, yet heat and laughter by no means have been. but from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids' curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking tale of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced via her mistress's nephew, Margaret's stories of her time in provider are informed with wit, heat, and a pointy eye for the prejudices of her state of affairs.
The Pan genuine Lives Series brings jointly a few really awesome tales. From relocating money owed of pain and redemption to enjoyable and really good confessions, wonderful adventures and touching stories of devotion, those are life-changing tales instructed from the heart.
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Extra resources for Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid
It was then doled out to us at eleven o’clock. My early school days don’t stand out much in my mind. It was when I got to the age of about seven that I, as it were, took my place in life. You see, with my mother going off early in the morning to do her charring and me being the eldest girl, I used to have to give the children their breakfast. Mind you, giving them their breakfast wasn’t a matter of cooking anything. We never had eggs or bacon, and things like cereals weren’t heard of. We had porridge in the winter, and just bread and margarine, and a scraping of jam, if Mum had any, in the summer.
Can you imagine nowadays going into a shop and asking the shopkeeper to come out for orders? But in those days, although she was as poor as a church mouse, with her aristocratic manner, the shop keepers would come out, very obsequiously bow and scrape and later send everything that she ordered. Nothing I did was right for her. Either I hadn’t got her into the right position outside the shop or the sun was in her eyes or I’d jolted her back. One particular day, it was a lovely summer morning and she wanted me to push her along the seafront.
I felt like a pincushion at the back. When I put my hand up I could feel nothing but hairpins, and when I looked in the glass at my face with not a scrap of hair showing, I thought I looked hideous. Little did I know I was going to look hideous the whole time I worked there, so really it made very little difference starting off like that. I got the uniform on, and oh how I hated it! As a kitchen maid I had to wear this uniform morning and afternoon. I didn’t change into black like the upstairs servants did.
Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid by Margaret Powell