by Lucy Lethbridge
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Release date: November 18, 2013
Price: $27.95 hardcover
Summary: An account of the vividly told lives of British servants and the upper crust they served.
From the vast staff running a lavish Edwardian estate to the lonely maid-of-all-work cooking in a cramped middle class house, domestics were an essential part of the British hierarchy for much of the past century. Servants were hired not only for their skills but also to demonstrate the social standing of their employers, even as they were required to tread softly and blend into the background. But how did these countless men and women live? How did they view their employers and one another? And how did they experience the rapid social change of the twentieth century? In this “best type of history” (Literary Review), Lucy Lethbridge brings to life the butlers and lady’s maids, the nannies and cleaners whose voices have been largely ignored by history. Drawing fascinating observations from a kaleidoscope of research, she delivers a discerning portrait of life in service from the Edwardian period to the 1970s and a new view of English society.
Lucy Lethbridge has written for the Observer, the Sunday Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday, the Times Literary Supplement, Art News, and Art+Auction. She has also been theTablet’s literary editor. She lives in London.