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Primetime TV Book Reviews
Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff
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
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!
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.
--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.
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
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