Domestic Servants: Glanusk Park
Domestic service provided a huge amount of employment in the nineteenth century. Even a modestly prosperous household could expect to retain the services of a general domestic servant, and most were young single women. In fact, right up until the start of the First World War, domestic service was the largest single occupation for women.
However, it was fading in popularity by 1891. The hours worked were very long, the work was arduous and often lonely, and it did not provide the freedom which was available to factory and shop workers.
Powys County Archives
Larger households could expect to employ many servants. One of the largest in Powys in 1891, Glanusk Park, had 17 servants in residence.
|Age||Occupation||Place of Birth|
|Bertha Elizabeth Stoors||Governess||S||42||Teacher||Switzerland Berne|
|Louis Edward Mimms||Serv||S||28||Valet||U S A Albany British Subject|
|Richard Stephen Giles||Serv||S||27||Underbutler||Hampshire Beaulieu|
|Ellen Mary Ann Craddock||Serv||S||40||Housekeeper||Middlesex Lambeth|
|Ernest Rhead||Serv||S||28||Footman||Leek Staffordshire|
|Margaret Ross||Serv||S||21||Ladies Maid||Scotland Rosshire|
|Mary Elizabeth Pepper||Serv||S||20||Kitchenmaid||Northampton|
|Annie Francis||Serv||S||24||Stillroom maid||Pembrokeshire Haverfordwest|
|Annie Blackner||Serv||S||19||Stillroom maid||Breconshire Crickhowell|
|Mary Hannah Grenshaw||Serv||S||29||Housemaid||Berkshire Newbury|
|Annie Elizabeth Davenport||Serv||S||24||Housemaid||Wellington Salop|
|Sarah Elizabeth Powis||Serv||S||19||Housemaid||Herefordshire Stoke Lacey|
|Margaret Powell||Serv||S||20||Housemaid||Breconshire Llangattock|
|Emily Franks||Serv||S||25||Schoolroom maid||Pembrokeshire Haverfordwest|
|James Edwards||Serv||M||41||Coachman and Groom||Ludlow Salop|
The first listed under the Bailey family was the governess, Bertha Stoors.
Governesses were usually middle class and well educated but not financially independent. They held a peculiar position in a household. In spite of their backgrounds and education, they were neither of a class with the family nor were they quite the same as the other servants. Bertha had only one child to teach - the 12 year old John Bailey, although she may also have taught the teenage daughters of the family.
The rest of the servants are listed according to status in the household.
The Brecon Hunt at Tregunter, c1890
Is that a valet or butler in the doorway?
A groom holds the lady's horse
Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery
Firstly came Louis Mimms, Lord Glanusk's valet. Louis undertook personal duties for Lord Glanusk - looking after his clothes and packing for instance - and would have travelled with him when away from home.
The next servant in status was the underbutler, as no butler was listed at census time. The underbutler would have assisted the butler and stood in for him when absent. The butler's duties involved taking charge of food and wine, waiting at table, answering the door, cleaning or supervising the cleaning of plate in the house, and often supervising the other male servants in the household.
Next was the cook, Emma Souster; then came Ernest Rhead, a footman. The footman's responsibilities included attending the door, carriage and table, cleaning the silver, acting as a valet when required and occasionally taking charge of the pantry under supervision.
Then came the lady's maid. Margaret Ross was the female equivalent to the valet, attending to the personal dressing of the mistress of the household, mending, darning and generally caring for her clothes.
The next servants were the two kitchenmaids. They would have cooked staff meals, prepared and cooked vegetables for the household, and sometimes prepared meals for the household if the cook were absent.
Darning, from a sampler of sewing stitches
Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery
"Carbonate of ammonia a pennyworth disolved
in cold water [. . .] for cleaning silk or cloth"
Recipe for cleaning silk
Powys County Archives
The final member of staff in residence was Emily Franks the schoolroom maid, whose responsibilities were to valet for the older schoolgirls, keep the schoolroom clean, carry up meals, and sometimes to accompany older girls out of doors.
Also, living in the Lodge to the main house was the coachman and groom, James Edwards.
By Powys standards, Glanusk was a large country home although some of the largest stately homes in Britain could have around 40 servants.