Arriving at the great houses of 1920s London, fifteen-year-old Margaret’s life in service was about to begin…
As a kitchen maid – the lowest of the low – she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and even bootlaces to be ironed. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark. It was a far cry from her childhood on the beaches of Hove, where money and food were scarce, but warmth and laughter never were.
Yet from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids’ curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced by her mistress’s nephew, Margaret’s tales of her time in service are told with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye for the prejudices of her situation.
Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants, Below Stairs is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman, who, though her position was lowly, never stopped aiming high.
'Enormous gusto, salty humour, wisdom' Evening Standard
'Shrewd, unabashed, wickedly funny, a unique front-line report of her life's experiences' Jack De Manio, BBC
'Anyone who enjoyed Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs will relish this feisty memoir' --Dame Eileen Atkins'A nurse worked hard, but a skivvy worked harder - brought to life in this wonderful book' --Jennifer Worth, author of the Call the Midwife trilogy'Despite Powell's cheerful voice, her depiction of life as a kitchen maid shows that it was far from rosy...her memoirs are spirited and heart-warming because of her, not because of her subject.' --Daily Express' Christopher Silvester'Witty, wise and wonderfully cynical, Margaret's story is in a class of its own.' --Lancashire Evening Post
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