Horn, Pamela. The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant.

London: Macmillan, 1975.

This not-huge volume has become the basic work on the life of the servant class during the 19th century. (I believe it’s based on the author’s graduate thesis.) After a brief chapter on the origins of domestic service in Britain, and why it was so much different from the equivalent situation on the Continent,

she delves into the daily round of both male and female servants (whose functions were very different, and for largely economic reasons), the nature of social life (such as it was) below stairs, relations between master and servant, how training and discipline was handled, and how it all came to an end in the decade following 1914. She includes a number of statistical appendices and quotes frequently from the memories of those who lived the servant’s life. And the bibliography is very extensive indeed. An important work in modern social and domestic history.

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Published in: on 26 November 2011 at 6:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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