Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff - Book Review From The TV MegaSite
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Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff book cover

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff
by Carson

 Review by Suzanne

This is a cool book that any fan of the series would love. It's full of information about how the servants run the house, based on historical records of the time. It would make a great Christmas gift, too.

I don't watch the show, but most people I know do, so I'm sure it will be very popular. It's very small, too, so it might fit in the stocking as well!


The household staff of Downton Abbey carries out their duties with effortless dignity, finesse and pride. Yet how do they know how exactly to lay the table, when to leave the room to give Lord and Lady Grantham their privacy, how to care for Lady Mary's furs and which uniform to wear when? This recently recovered and fascinating staff handbook answers all of these questions and more.

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff (St. Martin's Press, November 25, 2014, $14.99) provides guidelines for each member of the staff so that they may complete their tasks and carry themselves in the proper manner.

From cleaning and storage of fine silver to the preparations for hosting Their Majesties The King and Queen or other members of the Royal Family, this is an indispensable guide to the inner workings of this grand eastate.  With advice on posture and carriage for female servants and footman, as well as "the quietest way to open and close a door," virtually every aspect of service is explained in detail. Instructions include:

  • When waiting at the dining room table, footmen will stand with their backs to the fireplace, facing the table, and always walk around the table in a clockwise direction.

  • During house parties, when morning tea trays are delivered to guest rooms, open the curtains quietly but wake the guests firmly and remind them at what time breakfast is served.

  • "Pert Answers" --Giving "back answers" is a common fault among servants and will not be tolerated by the Butler, Housekeeper or Cook. Muttering as you leave the room, slamming the door or marching heavily down the stairs is also unbecoming.

  • When traveling, ensure your master's bed is not damp by placing an inverted glass between the sheets and examining it for drops of wet.

Covering all the main positions of the Downton household—footman, lady's maid, housekeeper, groundsman and more—and with a general introduction for new members of staff from Carson the Butler, this book tells you everything you need to know about working below stairs in the grand estate of Downton Abbey.

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Updated 12/12/2014


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