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Up and Down Stairs The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson

Up and Down Stairs The History of the Country House Servant

RRP £10.99


Up and Down Stairs The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson

Country houses were reliant on an intricate hierarchy of servants, each of whom provided an essential skill. Up and Down Stairs brings to life this hierarchy and shows how large numbers of people lived together under strict segregation and how sometimes this segregation was broken, as with the famous marriage of a squire to his dairymaid at Uppark. Jeremy Musson captures the voices of the servants who ran these vast houses, and made them work. From unpublished memoirs to letters, wages, newspaper articles, he pieces together their daily lives from the Middle Ages through to the twentieth century. The story of domestic servants is inseparable from the story of the country house as an icon of power, civilisation and luxury. This is particularly true with the great estates such as Chatsworth, Hatfield, Burghley and Wilton. Jeremy Musson looks at how these grand houses were, for centuries, admired and imitated around the world.


This is Gosford Park as non-fiction, and utterly fascinating Times Literary Supplement 'Entertaining saga of the class divide
The Daily Express

'Intimate and absorbing study'
The Sunday Times Architectural historian Masson brings alive the symbiotic relationship between the houses, their owners, and the workers. Financial Times

'Musson is excellent on the changing face of service in the twentieth century'

'Personal anecdotes bring this well-researched book to life'
Mail on Sunday

'A brilliantly readable book full of human history and entertaining anecdotes'
Lancashire Evening Post

'He retells the story at a cracking pace... we are reminded that all kinds of likely lads, including Chaucer, started out as paper pushers and cup bearers'

'Packed with quotes from memoirs and letters, as well as first hand accounts, a fascinating social history'
BBC Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

'An ideal read'
Field Magazine

About the Author

Jeremy Musson is architectural editor of Country Life and a leading historian of the country house. He is presenter of the television series The Curious House Guest, broadcast on BBC2 in 2005. He lives in Cambridge with his family and is the author of The English Manor House (Aurum 1999).

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Book Info

Publication date

1st April 2010


Jeremy Musson

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John Murray Publishers Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


384 pages


Social & cultural history



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