Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen by Margaret Powell

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 wholly new global; certainly one of 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 seashores of Hove, the place cash and foodstuff 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 by way of her mistress's nephew, Margaret's stories of her time in provider are instructed 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 extraordinary tales. From relocating money owed of ache and redemption to enjoyable and great confessions, unique adventures and touching stories of devotion, those are life-changing tales advised from the heart.

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Extra resources for Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid

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A butler opened the door to us and my mother said that this was Margaret Langley who had come for the interview as a kitchen maid. A very tiny little butler he was. I’d always thought that butlers were tall, imposing men. In the hall we saw a rather elderly gentleman and the lady who was to interview us. We were shown into what was obviously a nursery – a day nursery. My mother did all the talking because I was overcome with wonder at this room, for although it was only a nursery, you could have put all the three rooms that we lived in into it.

They were gorgeous, greasy, and golden, coated in fine sugar, and loaded with jam. The baker used to make several batches a day. On a weekend when Dad got his money, for a treat we would have some of these for tea. They beat any cakes that I’ve ever known now. And so did the bread. It wasn’t like this kind of bread you eat now that tastes like cotton-wool in your mouth, you can chew it for ever and it’s like swallowing lumps of wet dough. It was like cake. Of course by present-day standards, it wasn’t hygienic.

Another thing I couldn’t watch was the aerial trapeze. But the high spot of the evening for us was the man to he shot from the cannon. The night before we went, we’d heard Mum saying to Dad that when this act had been on in America, the man didn’t land in the net the right way and he broke his neck. Well, with the callousness of children, we didn’t think it was a bad thing at all. Suppose it happened when we went. After all, he had been doing it for several nights and it was time he had a mishap.

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