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Publisher Description

Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants portrayed in Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, Margaret Powell's classic memoir of her time in service, Below Stairs, is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high. Powell first arrived at the servants' entrance of one of those great houses in the 1920s. 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 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-parlormaid, 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. Margaret Powell's true story of a life spent in service is a fascinating "downstairs" portrait of the glittering, long-gone worlds behind the closed doors of Downton Abbey and 165 Eaton Place.

Biographies & Memoirs
January 3
St. Martin's Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

Easywriter101 ,

A straight forward recollection

An unsentimental recollection of a kitchen chef's year in service, starting as a 13 year old scullery aid. Good insights into the many kinds of households, and also the reasons for being out into service in the first quarter of the 20th century. Utterly humble, and most followable,

Denbo99 ,

FTC did. Hi vcx

Fab. F f bbbn. F. N

ksmithcats ,

Just Wonderful

Margaret Powell writes an autobiography that could have been terribly dreary and maudlin without her uniquely saucy, clever voice. She skewers the attitudes of many in the upper classes without mincing any words. And though she repeatedly insists there's no nobility in a life of poverty, this reader can't help but wish, just a little bit, to have shared some of Margaret's story by her side. Below Stairs is mandatory reading for any fan of "Downton", "Gosford", "Upstairs"...oh for heavens sake, just read the bloody book and Love It as did I!

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