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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A servant’s bedroom


Naturally one would not expect a servant’s bedrooms to be equal to those of their employers. Nonetheless it is interesting to note the contrasts in the accommodation. Firstly the location of the servant’s quarters in the service wing means they are well removed from the family area. The scale and decor was markedly different too. The servant’s bedrooms, while perfectly adequate, were simply furnished and decorated.

In the servant’s room the views from the window are also obscured by a thick yew hedge, this was common practice for staff rooms and work areas. And the only servants who would not have been expected to share a room were the cook, housekeeper and butler.

Many servants however, were happy with their accommodation as was a vast improvement on conditions they would have been accustomed to in their homes. Positions in a big house usually offered security, good living conditions, clothing, ample food and a possible pension at the end of service or even a legacy from an employer. Despite the hard work, long hours and restrictions on freedom there were other compensations in the life of a household servant. Service sometimes offered the opportunity to be part of a glamorous lifestyle if a servant was fortunate enough to be asked to accompany his or her employer on trips at home or abroad, or at the very least to race meetings or the theatre.

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