Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen by Margaret Powell

By Margaret Powell

Arriving on the nice homes of Nineteen Twenties London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's existence in carrier used to be approximately to start… As a kitchen maid – the bottom of the low – she entered a wholly new global; one among stoves to be blacked, greens to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, or even bootlaces to be ironed. paintings begun at 5.30am and went on till after darkish. It used to be a much cry from her youth at the seashores of Hove, the place cash and nutrients have been scarce, yet heat and laughter by no means have been. but from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids' curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking tale of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced by means of her mistress's nephew, Margaret's stories of her time in carrier are informed with wit, heat, and a pointy eye for the prejudices of her state of affairs.

The Pan genuine Lives Series brings jointly a few really outstanding tales. From relocating bills of discomfort and redemption to enjoyable and marvelous confessions, exciting adventures and touching stories of devotion, those are life-changing tales advised from the heart.

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Extra info for Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid

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In the first place, I could never seem to get on with the thimble. So, of course, I used to prick my finger and the garments got spotted with blobs of blood. It started out as a white garment but it was red and black by the time I’d finished. Well, can you wonder at it? There were the most primitive lavatories in the yard but there was nowhere to wash your hands. So I came in after playtime with my hands filthy to do this needlework. Singing was hopeless too. I always remember the school concert.

If by chance you sprinkled the water on the feet of the ironing women instead of on the floor, they used to swear like Billingsgate fishwives. I’d never heard anything like it in my life, even on a Saturday night along our street, and they used to tell the foulest jokes and screech with mirth at my incomprehension. What a sight I must have looked. It was the time when girls were wearing boots that came up to the knees but I had a pair that came just above my ankles like my father’s boots. I was already taking size eights although I was only fourteen.

We used to call them cow cakes because they resembled the cow-dung that we saw in the fields. Especially when people had trodden on it. Sometimes we’d see a currant loaf. It was marvellous if we got a currant loaf. For our sixpence they used almost to fill a pillowcase with bread. Best of all were the rolls. If there were any rolls put in, we used to eat them on the way home and never say a word to Mum. We were so ravenous, getting up at six, queuing outside in all that cold, so just eating those odd rolls was absolute heaven.

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