In Palace House, costumed guides take on the characters of servants who are known to have lived and worked in the house in the late 1800s when Lord Henry Scott , the first Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, was in residence. On selected days, Barkham and Herbert, the House-maids, Harrison the Nursery-maid, Bellmore the Valet and Stuart the Footman give talks on their daily lives as servants in a Victorian country house. Other ‘chat’ topics include Victorian food preparation in the Palace House kitchen, Victorians and their medicinal remedies and ghostly stories of Palace House.
|Below Stairs at Blenheim Palace|
Chatsworth offers a series of ‘behind the scenes’ events allowing glimpses of how Chatsworth is cared for. At the moment there is intensive restoration work taking place on part of the house, and visitors can climb the scaffolding on special scaffolding tours to enjoy fantastic views not normally seen, and experience up close the stonemasonry taking place. Visitors can also experience Christmas behind the scenes and view how the house is magnificently prepared for the festive season.
|Hatfield House Kitchen|
The still room was where jams, jellies and preserves were made. There is a huge pestle and mortar, which was used to grind the spices so popular in Victorian times. The pastry room, on the cool north side of the house, was used to prepare ornate cakes and biscuits and for the storage of dry goods. In the adjoining scullery, the scullery maid worked hard washing up all the pots and pans, and preparing the vegetables from Hatfield’s garden.
The public tour of Holkham Hall ends with the kitchen, which has much the same effect on today’s visitors as it did for a young lady who saw it, just recently completed, in 1756: ‘Such an amazing large and good kitchen I never saw, everything in it so nice and clever.’ It measures about 23 by 50 feet (over 7 by 15 metres) and rises through two storeys, well lit by windows at both ends. The great open roasting range and massive iron ovens that are still in place date from the 1850s, when the kitchen was modernised; opposite them are shelves of polished copper pans and rows of ornate jelly and sweetmeat moulds. The kitchen and, on special occasions, even the roasting range remained in use until 1939.
New for 2011:Staff and Servants Exhibition. Take a closer look at those employed by the Earls and Dukes of Bedford from the 16th century to the present day. We have drawn on Woburn Abbey’s historical archives to create an exhibition that reveals who the people ‘below stairs’ were; how they ensured this great house functioned successfully, their positions, wages and even their medical histories.