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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Social Sciences » Sociology » Rural

Up and Down Stairs

The History of the Country House Servant

By Jeremy Musson

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Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 April 2010
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 From unpublished memoirs to letters, wages, newspaper articles, he pieces together their daily lives from the Middle Ages through to the twentieth century.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.

Promotional Information

A history that brings to life the real country house servants

EAN: 9780719597305
ISBN: 0719597307
Publisher: John Murray Publishers
Dimensions: 19.56 x 12.7 x 2.54 centimetres (0.28 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years

About the Author

Jeremy Musson is an architectural historian and has been Architectural Editor of Country Life for the past 10 years. In his work, Jeremy has always been committed to engaging a wider public to the glories of historic buildings, and to exploring the influence of ideas about the past and preservation. He has written and edited hundreds of articles on historic country houses, from Garsington Manor to Knebworth House. He also presented Curious House Guest on BBC2 and is the author of two books, including How to Read a Country House. Jeremy is married with two children.


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' Spectator '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' Guardian '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

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