Throwback Thursday: Housemaids

Throwback Thursday - Housemaids
November 26 2019 | History

Throwback Thursday - Housemaids
This Throwback Thursday photograph shows two of Hever Castle’s housemaids in 1907.

The staff were catered for by a kitchen, scullery and carvery, servants’ bedrooms and bathrooms (male and female), servants’ living quarters, i.e. dining hall, sitting rooms, separately for male and female, and private sitting rooms and bedrooms for each of housekeeper, cook and butler.

The male and female domestic staff prior to the First World War were:
– Butler, who was also the private valet
– 2 x footmen (also waiters) and when required accompanied the coachman ‘on the box’
– Cook
– 2 x kitchen maids
– Scullery maid
– 2 x stillroom maids
– Housekeeper
– Groom of the Chambers who checked that male guests, who came alone without valets, were properly accommodated and valeted as required
– Oddman who did general cleaning of corridors, doorways, prepared the ‘servants’ hall’ for meals, e.g. footmen, housemaids. The housekeeper, butler and visiting valets and ladies’ maid dined in a separate room.

In addition to the domestic staff there was the curator. He and his family were the only people, apart from domestic staff, who lived at the Castle complex. The curator was responsible for the antiques, works of art, etc, collected by former owner William Waldorf Astor and his duties included conducting the guests through the rooms and explaining the contents. Sometimes when Astor entertained guests for lunch and they wished to be shown round after the meal he would say “I’ll see if my man is there” knowing full well that he had told him to be there. If he wished to be rid of the guests as quickly as possible he would whisper to the curator “half an hour”.

To find out more about Hever Castle’s interesting history including more about Astor and his restoration of the Castle and to see other Throwback Thursday photographs, please see our archives.