Life Below Stairs
On Tuesday, Year 4 stepped back in time to the Victorian era to learn about life ‘below stairs’. Each of them had applied for a different serving position in the great house at Preston Manor in Brighton, from ladies’ maid to ‘oddman’ (a combined carpenter, porter and general odd jobs person), writing letters to the Housekeeper, the formidable Mrs Storey, who was to appraise each of them for these coveted roles. With fifty-two rooms to clean and maintain in this, the owners’ smallest of five residences, high standards and a hard work-ethic were vital! The children learnt about some of the innovative inventions created for the Victorian household and put in a solid day’s work learning how to make beds, launder clothes, prepare desserts and scrub cutlery sets and cooking utensils until they shone. Amidst all of this, they took the opportunity, with the lord and lady of the house away on business in London, to play on the lawn at the back of the house, organising their own games to play in the sunshine after their picnic.
The children gave an excellent account of themselves as trainee servants and as Caterham Prep pupils, earning high praise from Mrs Storey, who said she’d rarely been harder pressed to choose successful candidates in her twenty years as Housekeeper. It was a great trip, with children working well in different teams throughout the day to independently organise and complete a wide variety of tasks to a high standard, with a team spirit that carried through from chores to playtime. If any of your children ever need references for work in any of the great aristocratic households in the country, Mrs Storey and James, the Head Footman, have said that they will be happy to provide a reference!Back to all news