Primary Resources

This resource gallery has been developed to be used for pre visit preparatory work and for post visit reference. You will find a range of primary documents and material here that links to the themes in each unit. By clicking on any image below you can access background information on the source and also find out where it came from and where it is currently held.

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The kitchen was the cook’s domain: here she was aided by scullery and kitchen maids - these maids were at the bottom of the female servant hierarchy.

The kitchen was often placed as far as possible from the main part of the house to lower the risk of accidental fires spreading and also to reduce noise and smells permeating the building.  Smells were also kept at bay by turns in the corridors, often at the expense of hot food, which was sometimes kept warm in the butler’s pantry beside the dining room.

Cooks were known to be notoriously temperamental and secretive about their recipes, and finding a good cook was often very difficult. Keeping her was even more so, to the extent that even the mistress of the house dared not interfere too much in kitchen procedures for fear of upsetting her cook!

‘Some ladies stand very much in awe of their cooks, knowing that those who consider themselves to be thoroughly experienced will not brook fault finding or interference with their manner of cooking, and give notice to leave on the smallest pretext. Thus when ladies obtain a really good cook, they deal with her delicately and are inclined to let her have her own way with regard to serving the dinner.’

Servant’s Practical Guide, 1880

Open Resource