Well, ladies and gents!

In my previous article we talked about the Upper Servants of a Regency Era’s household. So today’s topic is about the Lower Servants and I believe you’ll find this information very interesting!

All you have to do is keep reading…

Footmen

A footman’s job was, in fact, demanding and varied.

They announced the visitors so they would have to be tall, imposing and good-looking. They served meals and accompanied the family outside the house, especially when the latter wanted someone to carry their packages when they went shopping. Their duties also included roles where they would have to act as a bodyguard or a bouncer.


Chamber Maids or House Maids

The Housemaids’ job was, by no means, easy. They were responsible for carrying coal, lighting fire, heating water for washing and bathing and carrying it upstairs to the bedrooms. They also cleaned the chamber pots, changed bed linens, drew the curtains, and scrubbed the floors.

 

Large households made a distinction between upper and lower maids and that had to do with how the ladies looked. For example, the upper housemaids were expected to be more presentable in terms of appearance and manners as they performed duties that required direct interaction with the family and visitors. The decoration of the house was one of their responsibilities.

However, lower housekeepers were responsible for the heavier and dirtier work. This meant that they would have to be dynamic and hard working.


Kitchen Maids

As I mentioned in my previous article, ladies during the Regency Era did not cook for their own families—they had a cook or a chef.

 

Kitchen maids were under the supervision of the cook or chef. They lit the stoves and helped with meal preparation. Cleaning up was the scullery maids’ job.


Scullery Maids and Laundry Maids

In the lower rank of the hierarchy were the scullery maids and laundry maids. They were very young girls that occupied the lowest rank of the female servants and they were hired to do mainly the dishwashing.

 

The only cleansing materials at the time were harsh abrasives like sand and lye. Scullery maids often worked long hours cleaning the hundreds of dirty dishes generated from multi-course dinner parties.


Maid Of All Work

Contrary to large households where employees were are under a particular hierarchy, in less wealthy households, a single woman—a maid-of-all-work—would perform all of the above tasks.

 

They worked many hours in the day, usually from 6 am until 11 pm for about two shillings per week. Up until the famous Victorian times, the three-fifths of all maids were maids-of-all-work.


Specialty Maids

A very common thing during the Regency Era was the employment of specialty maids for specific tasks.

 

Dairymaids or milkmaids milked cows and churned butter on country estates.

Nursemaids were usually under twenty years of age and were the only female servants who spent most of their time outside the house, as they took the children for daily walks.

 

Outdoor Staff

In addition to what was mentioned above, there was also staff for outdoor jobs.

These job positions included coachmen—who both cared for and drove the coaches—and grooms that were responsible for the horses.

There was often a gardener, who would also have some assistants with him, but that was mostly for homes with extensive grounds.

Country estates often employed a gamekeeper who used to breed and feed game. The gamekeeper’s remote cottage often served as an oh-so-convenient haven for the hero and heroine when they were out during storms!

Well, thank you for reading this article of mine! Please let me know your thoughts about it—did you enjoy it? 

If there is anything else you’d be interested in reading about the Regency Era, feel free to let me know…

…and who knows? Maybe you will read about it soon!

Written by Olivia Bennet

54 COMMENTS

  1. Fascinating. Always loved to know more about the different levels of the household and what their duties comprise. The lower the level, the harder the work and the lower the pay. They are also at the mercy of the housekeeper. A governess, for example is considered a servant; although, they rank higher. Are they also under the housekeeper? Who has a higher position, the butler or the housekeeper?

  2. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten us with the detail relating to the serving classes during the Regency period. As sad as the situation was, it was a reality of the time period and many people worked in these positions of servitude, and were quite fortunate for the employment.

  3. Thank you, this article was very interesting. If you have anything else to share about that period please send it.

  4. Thanks for the insight on who did what. Enjoyed it.
    Love to know what jobs paid and how far it went at that time for the servants.

  5. Loved the article of the lower downstairs staff!!
    I have read everything you’ve written about the Regency Era. I thought I was nearly an expert on the period, due to my extensive reading of Georgette Heyer novels. There is much that was missed, and you’ve seemed to have hit upon it all.
    A thoroughly likable read!

  6. I some how missed your first article about the upper maids, etc. Thank you for doing the re search. I found it very informative. It is nice to know what their responsibilities were. Look forward to re a ding other books you have written. Thanks again

  7. Very interesting article. My grandmother was born to a poor family in Greece. Periodically the wealthy women of athens would arrive in the villages and “hire” young girls to work in their homes as maids. Hired as a scullery maid at seven years of age, she works in the household until she became the ladies made to the dowager. Your article brought back many memories of stories she told of her experiences. She considered it fortunate to be employed in that household as sexual contact by the sons was not allowed.

  8. The family for which my grandmother worked was the wealthy shipping family in Greece in the early 1900s.
    Working as the personal maid to the dowager mother she traveled with her throughout Europe. She was fortunate but she worked her way up into that position
    after many years and serving in many positions.
    Thank you for your continued informative articles.

  9. I really enjoyed reading about the servants. It was quite interesting. Most times they are forgotten and not commented on in most books except in reference to the heroine. thanks for the information

  10. I really enjoyed the definition of the different servants at that time. It helps when reading the books and visualizeing the occupants of the stories. Thank you

  11. Thank you. The article is very enlightening. I didn’t know that the help held so many jobs for one person.

  12. Thank you for your interesting facts about the daily lives of the upper and lower servants in Regency England. Enjoyed reading about them\

  13. Not much different today except the maid of all work is called housewife! Luckily we are born in the era of electricity and indoor plumbing! Your article makes it obvious that only the very wealthy could afford to employ so diverse a staff,and people were willing to do anything to survive. If a job came with a bed and meals the servant,it was a better life than starving . I enjoyed the pictures too,thanks Olivia.

  14. That was. Fascinating to read about the different types of servants and what the duties of each particular servant were. Thank you for a very informative two articles

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