Paperback review: Servants, By Lucy Lethbridge
Sunday 15 September 2013
Frederick Daniel Hardy’s 1871 painting After the Party seems to strike more of the truth about a servant’s life than any Downton Abbey episode, and Lethbridge’s account of servant life at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th reinforces that impression.
Aristocratic resistance to new technologies meant that servants were required for menial tasks much longer than they needed to be, kept in unsanitary conditions, and humiliated by the class distinction (maids could not wear hats to church, but “identifying bonnets”, lest someone mistake them for a member of the family). Crucially, she explores the complexities of servant life, how servants were increasingly regarded as “class traitors” by their peers, while many were deeply nostalgic for the old days that the First World War destroyed for ever.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
- 2 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 3 It won’t work, Jeremy: The Health Secretary has lost the confidence of the medical profession in his attempt to reform the NHS
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?
Cilla Black's 12 best songs, from 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' to 'You're My World'
Zoolander 2 trailer leaks online and it's really, really, ridiculously good looking
Game of Thrones season 6: New toy line suggests Jon Snow is not among the dead
Game of Thrones season 6: Northern Ireland set photos leak online
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality