Edwardian Servants~Part Two, Lydia’s Story & a Giveaway!

by | Sep 18, 2014 | Uncategorized | 43 comments

Carrie at Downt Costume Exhibit

I enjoyed the Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit at Winterthur Museum in Delaware.

Read Edwardian Servants~ Part One here.

Lydia Chambers, lady’s maid to Kate Ramsey, is one of the main characters in The Daughter of Highland Hall. We first met Lydia in The Governess of Highland Hall, shortly after she arrives at the grand estate for her first job. She’s a sweet, caring young woman who is eager to learn what’s needed to be a proper maid. When Kate travels to London for her first season, Lydia comes along. When Lydia learns her sister is in trouble, she goes to Kate for help. The two grow closer as they carry out a plan to help Lydia’s sister, Helen . . . but that leads them into all kinds of trouble. What kind of trouble? You’ll just have to read The Daughter of Highland Hall and see.

Working as a servant in Edwardian times was not an easy task. Beside the long hours of demanding physical work, there were many rules the servants needed to remember. Take a look at these!

  • Never let your voice be heard by the ladies and gentlemen of the house.
  • Always ‘give room’ if you meet one of your employers or betters on the stairs.
  • Always stand still when being spoken to by a lady and look at the person speaking to you.
  • Never speak first to ladies and gentlemen.
  • Servants should never offer any opinion to their employers, not even to say good night.
  • Never talk to another servant in the presence of your mistress.
  • Never call from one room to another.
  • Always answer when you have received an order.
  • Every servant must be punctual at meal times.
  • No servant is to take any knives or forks or other article, nor on any account to remove any provisions, nor ale or beer out of the hall.
  • No gambling, or oaths, or abusive language are allowed.
  • The female staff are forbidden from smoking.
  • No servant is to receive any visitor, friend or relative into the house.
  • Any maid found fraternizing with a member of the opposite sex will be dismissed without a hearing.
  • The servants’ hall is to be cleared and closed at half-past ten at night.
  • Any breakages or damage to the house will be deducted from wages.

I’m excited to share the rest of Lydia’s story with you! The Daughter of Highland Hall releases, Tuesday October 7, but you can pre-order your copy now and be one of the first to read this new book in the series!

I’m giving away one advanced reader copy of the Daughter of Highland Hall to a US reader who leaves a comment below and answers this question: If you were going to work as a servant in Edwardan times, which position would you take and why? The drawing for the winner will be held Sunday evening, Sept 21st, so be sure to enter by 9:00 pm Eastern. Please share this blog with your friends!

Would you like to know more about Edwardian Servants? Check out these links: Edwardian Promenade’s article about Edwardian Servants, Jane Austen’s World Article, The Daily Mail Article, Information about the Manor House Series.

****UPDATE****  Congratulations to Linda Crowe whose name was chosen as the winner of an autographed copy of The Daughter of Highland Hall!

Until next time, Happy Reading,



  1. Virginia Winfield

    I would want to be a maid because they worked long hours but usually got to go home at night.

  2. Rachel Koppleberger

    I don’t know much about that occupation, but I think I’d want to be a maid, or maybe a lady’s maid.

  3. tammy cordery

    I guess the maids have it. I would not like to stay there overnight because I would miss my family. If I had to pick a person my next would be the cook.

  4. Jennifer

    I’d want to be a lady’s maid since then I might have the opportunity to travel with her and see different parts of the world or city.

  5. Loraine N.

    I would probably pick being a maid, possibly a ladies maid. I could focus on doing my job and not have to oversee the other staff, like the head housekeeper did.

  6. CharleneMcD

    I would probably choose lady’s maid. There would be travel, and it would be an interesting job being able to hear about the things that go on.

  7. Charlotte

    At my age I would choose to be the head housekeeper. When younger I would have chosen to be a nursery maid. Thanks for the chance to win an advanced copy of your new book!!!! I would feel most blessed if I won it!!!!!!!

    Blessings and Smiles,

  8. Deanna S

    If I had to be a maid I’d pick the Lady’s Maid. Being a kitchen or cleaning maid- a hard thankless job but what would they have done without them?

  9. Pam Halter

    Tough question, because all I have to go on is Downton Abbey. But I love to cook, so I might choose to work in the kitchen. No matter what position, it wouldn’t be easy.

  10. Tricia Mingerink

    I would probably want to be a nursery maid. I’m a terrible cook so I couldn’t work in the kitchens, and I have no sense of fashion or skills with hair styles, so a job as a lady’s maid wouldn’t turn out so well.

  11. Cindy von Hentschel

    I would have to pick Lady’s Maid. You are the highest ranking maid, plus you get to travel with your Lady, and you most times become her friend/confidant.

  12. Niki

    I think I would like to be the cook! Being in charge of the kitchen and all the cooling seems creative and fun! I am sure it entails a lot of work though!

  13. Andrea Cox

    Carrie, I’ve loved this two-part series on servants. So informative!

    If I were to go into service, I would choose to be either a lady’s maid or a kitchen helper. Both sound like fun, although I’m sure they weren’t always. But the skills I have would be put to good use in either role.


  14. LouAnn Christie

    What interesting insights into more of the servants’ life. In Downton Abbey these three rules are broken many times:
    ◾The female staff are forbidden from smoking.
    ◾No servant is to receive any visitor, friend or relative into the house.
    ◾Any maid found fraternizing with a member of the opposite sex will be dismissed without a hearing.

    So many rules so little grace.

    So, I think I’d like to be either the Head Housekeeper or the Lady’s Maid.

    I was the Head Housekeeper (Office Manager) of a group of 8-9 women at a former job. I like the ‘control’ … LOL! I was successful at managing the staff and working with the Upper Class (Sr. Mgmt.) and was effective in helping to bring some change into the organization. Perhaps I could have lobbied for better working conditions and hours. Just a thought 🙂

    I’d like to be the Lady’s Maid because it’s about as close to be in the ‘upper society’ without being there. Like Cindy said, you’d get to travel, you become the confident of the Lady, and you get to go upstairs and see life.

    Thanks again Carrie for your gift of writing and sharing it with us and the world!

  15. Ora Dee Rocks

    If I was picked I’d be truly honored to receive an advanced copy of Daughters of Highland hall. It would also be exciting to have it autographed. I sure am loving reading it now.

  16. susan beamon

    I would like to be Cook or Housekeeper, if I had to take a job as a servant. Those positions usually had their own room you didn’t have to share.

  17. Edie C

    First I was going to say lady’s maid but really I would have been the cook. I love to make large dinners and cooking for the fancy parties would have been exciting. Not to mention being in charge of the kitchen helpers. 🙂

  18. Tami

    I would like to be a ladies maid… To do the hair and dress the ladies would be fun for me… Or a seamstress.

  19. Sharon Timmer

    I would love to be a housekeeper because I really enjoy having a clean home! 🙂

  20. Lynda E.

    Definitely, a lady’s maid; I’d enjoy helping the mistress get ready, although the hours might not always be the most fun. But since I’d have to probably work up to that, I guess I’d start as one of the lower maids. Just don’t ask me to empty chamber pots, please! 🙂

  21. Renee Schultz

    I think Lady’s Maid would be my first choice. The possibility of travel would be a big plus, however it would totally depend on who you are assigned to work for, it could be wonderful or terrible. I like the idea that although you would be doing the same things each day, the day could still be different based on the conversations you might hear or the schedule of the “lady”, whereas cooking or cleaning would just keep repeating without much change, it would be more interesting. Thanks Carrie!

  22. Piper

    I would like to be a Lady’s Maid.

  23. Anita Smith

    I’d have to say Ladies Maid, Ms. O’Brien notwithstanding…I think they had a higher quality of living compared to the scullery maids, and even some house maids. They had the ear of the lady of the house, and didn’t have to wear the aprons! Of course, I’d really have to “brush up” on my hairdressing skills, no pun intended.

  24. Phyllis

    Interesting comments on your blog. I’m sure I would like your book. Thank you for the give-away.

  25. Phyllis

    I would like the position of Lady’s maid because this would give a fascinating look at her world as I would not see any other way. This position might be the most demanding, though.

  26. Beth-Anne

    I would want to be a lady’s maid because you would be more involved with the family. I think it would be interesting

  27. Beth Gillihan

    I think I would choose the nursery maid.

  28. Donna B

    I would choose to be a nursery maid. I love working with infants and toddlers.

  29. Amy

    I think I would want to be a ladies maid… It sounds better than having to do all the cleaning! And their job was really just to take care of one person most of the time. Getting her dressed, fixing her hair, having the opportunity to travel a little when she did. Still hard work and long hours, but not the most terrible life. 🙂

  30. Dana Kamstra

    I think the ladies maid would be what I would want to do the most. Like many have mentioned already, you would have the opportunities to travel with your mistress. There might have been a little bit more downtime as well since you only had one person you were caring for.

  31. Jennifer Tipton

    That’s crazy that you could not have company or a life for that matter. I’m grateful that I don’t have to pick either one of those options. Being the lady of the house sounds like the best choice.
    jennydtipton at gmail dot com

  32. Gwen

    I would be the governess because I like to teach and enjoy children! Thanks, Carrie!

  33. Rebecca Tellez

    I find the lives of these people so fascinating. I cannot imagine living that kind of life. I think I would like to have been a lady’s maid. That way I could have traveled with the family and maybe even done some work as the lady’s seamstress.

  34. Linda

    Oh Carrie, I would have to opt for being the Governess as I can’t cook worth a darn, hate to clean house, and no Lady would want me to be responsible for dressing her or fixing her hair! Thanks, Carrie!

  35. Linda

    Geverness would probably be the best match for me, since I’m already a homeschooling mother, but if I couldn’t be a governess, I’d want to be the housekeeper.

  36. Dana McNeely

    I think I would like to be a governess or a stable hand. 🙂 I like children of all ages and love teaching (and learning!) If not a governess, stable hand would also work. (It takes the same relationship skills, doesn’t it?) I like horses, although I no longer have any and I kind of like the methodical chores of feeding, grooming, cleaning stalls, and training the animals. (Same as governess, right?)

  37. Robin E. Mason

    My position of preference would be governess. I have done some teaching and discovered that rather enjoy it. I get a thrill when the children grasp something I am trying to teach them.

  38. Melody Gonser

    I would want to be a ladies maid or governess. Whatever position where I would be treated best.

  39. Jill strohm

    I would want to be a lady’s maid because you wou have the opportunity to travel.

  40. HuntingViolets

    I was wondering where you got the photos to illustrate the article—particularly the second one with the two maids. Are they public domain? Thanks.

    • Carrie Turansky

      Hi Hunting Violets, I found those images of the Edwardian servants through Google searches and Pinterest searches. I don’t have any information on who they are or if they have a copyright.

  41. Jane J

    I’ve only just found your website. My Nan was a nursemaid in the early 1900s, firstly with the local vicar and his family and then later with a local doctor and his family. Nan was born in 1894 and was in service from about 1908 to 1920. I have always regretted not talking about this with her so I only have little snippets of information about that period of her life. She died in 1986, just short of her 92nd birthday.

    • Carrie Turansky

      Hi Jane, so nice to hear a but about your Nan who was a nursemaid! You might enjoy reading The Governess of Highland Hall to give you a bit more of an idea of what life was like for nursemaids and governesses at that time! It’s the first of three books in the Edwardian Brides Series.


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