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

By Margaret Powell

Arriving on the nice homes of Twenties London, fifteen-year-old Margaret's lifestyles in carrier used to be approximately to start… As a kitchen maid – the bottom of the low – she entered a completely new global; one in every of stoves to be blacked, greens to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, or even bootlaces to be ironed. paintings began at 5.30am and went on till after darkish. It used to be a miles cry from her adolescence at the shores 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 through her mistress's nephew, Margaret's stories of her time in carrier are advised with wit, heat, and a pointy eye for the prejudices of her scenario.

The Pan genuine Lives Series brings jointly a few actually notable tales. From relocating debts of ache and redemption to enjoyable and magnificent confessions, wonderful adventures and touching stories of devotion, those are life-changing tales advised from the heart.

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I suppose he must have done. He landed in the net quite safely, and there was a tremendous burst of applause which we joined in. Mind you, we would have given just as much applause if he had broken his neck. It was a marvellous evening. I didn’t go to sleep that night thinking about it all. 4 ANOTHER DIVERSION which may seem a commonplace now was the cinema but, of course, it bore no comparison with films today. The places by present standards were sleazy. The one we liked was in the main street.

There was no knocking them down and kicking them in the balls or using knives and bottles like you get now. There used to be one man whose wife didn’t drink. When he came out of the pub, three sheets in the wind, reeling along, he’d look up at his bedroom window. ’ There was nothing else for working-class people but the pubs. They couldn’t afford to go to the theatres; the cinema maybe. It wasn’t that they spent such a lot. The beer was so strong then. When my Dad was in work he used to come home Saturday at dinnertime and send me around to the bottle-and-jug department to get half a pint of Burton.

When I put my hand up I could feel nothing but hairpins, and when I looked in the glass at my face with not a scrap of hair showing, I thought I looked hideous. Little did I know I was going to look hideous the whole time I worked there, so really it made very little difference starting off like that. I got the uniform on, and oh how I hated it! As a kitchen maid I had to wear this uniform morning and afternoon. I didn’t change into black like the upstairs servants did. It was a blue uniform, not navy blue, a sort of between navy and saxe blue.

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