Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by Keema's Nan
To him the world is real, but he is the modern day equivalent of those
country estate owners from 200 years ago who built tunnels from the back road
to the kitchens, stables, etc., so that they never saw the commoners who made
It's time you took a look at our social history and visited some of these old
estates to take a peep at how rural people actually lived.
A modest estate could support 100 employees or more and was the economic hub
of the community. "Never saw commoners?" they were infested with them. Every
gentleman had his manservant (valet) and every lady her maid devoted to their
service, In addition every overnight visitor would bring with them their
personal servants who had to be accommodated as well. Further to that, the
house required cleaning (no such thing as a vacuum cleaner in those days it
all had to be done by hand) and of course with all these residents and guests
there was quite a lot of clothes and bedding to be laundered. Most big houses
had a laundry where a number of young girls under the supervision of an older
and more experienced overseer would work.
All these people had to be fed which provided work for cooks and scullery
maids plus attendees to wait on table in the main dining room
There were grounds and gardens to be maintained by a team of gardeners under
the charge of a head gardener. There were horses to be groomed and attended.
As regards deliveries, there weren't that many. Every estate worthy of the
name was virtually self sufficient. Those same gardens provided all the
vegetables and the estate farm(s) the meat. joiners and carpenters were
employed ad hoc to make and maintain furniture. Builders, masons and allied
tradesmen were employed sometimes full time to maintain the buildings.
The hey day of the landed estate came to the end with the First World War
though there is some evidence that the decline had set in before then.
Their source of labour dried up as me were conscripted or, with women took up
better paid jobs in factories. They tended to remain in these jobs after the
war ended. Then there were the death duties introduced to pay for it. Much
land and even entire estates were sold off to meet these liabilities.
Some landowners have passed over their estates to the National Trust in lieu
of Death duties or inheritance tax. It's sad really but difficult to see how
such places could survive modern economic realities.
Where owners have managed to cling onto their inheritances most have followed
the NT route and opened them up to the public in some way. They no longer
live in the big houses unless it's in a private wing or in a house built or
renovated in an isolated part of the estate.
My wife and I have over the years spent countless hours mooching around these
places looking at old photographs of long dead families and retinues of
servants who once kept the place alive.
A way of life, long gone which should never be forgotten.