Posted by Adam Quinan on April 10, 2003 at 22:34:45 from 220.127.116.11 user Adam.
In Reply to: Re: BECKFOOT layout - a thought about crockery posted by Peter H on April 10, 2003 at 12:28:14:
As a scion of servant employing grandparents, I would like to point out that often long term employees, who may have lived in at least part of the time, became part of the family in some but not every respect. A couple of examples (I am not defending or decrying the system, just trying to describe it).
My grandmother's cleaning lady still came round every week in the 1960s and chatted for several hours with my grandmother well after she had "retired" and didn't do any real work. I understand my grandmother continued to pay her for this "service" until she died, basically it was to supplement her state pension.
My other grandparents employed a gardener/handyman who also helped about the house. He had his own house but as a single man often used to sleep at their house especially in the later years when my grandmother was not well and living alone. He was like an adult friend to me and spent a good deal of time with me when I visited her. After they died, he worked in the manor house in the village and we kept on friendly terms, various members of our family visited him and he always wrote and received cards at Christmas from all of us for the rest of his life which was about thirty years after my grandparents died and he had to find other work. When he died a few years ago we found that he had left each of my brothers and I a small memento in his will.
Now I won't claim that either "servant" was treated as a social equal, but neither expected to be in those pre-egalitarian days. There was mutual respect and affection and an understanding of how things were then set up. I can completely understand the relationship between Cook and Nancy and Peggy for example, it mirrors my own with Harold in many ways.
These were my grandparents so they would have been about the same age as Molly Blackett. Neither of my grandparents were extremely rich, one was a doctor (pre-NHS so you had to collect your bills from your patients who didn't have much insurance in those days), the other a retired senior Indian Army officer.
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