Thursday, February 27, 2014

At Your Service – The 19th Century Butler

The Butler:-

Most senior of the house servant.

Addressed as Mr (last name) by staff and last name only by his employer.

Carries out much of his duties from the Butler pantry. Here the plate (silverware) and china are kept when not in use.


Responsible for all the male staff.

Supervises the footmen when serving a meal.

In charge of:         

The wine cellar

The plate

He oversees:         

The setting of the table

Trimming candlewicks

Filling lamps with oil

Cleaning the silver

He irons the masters newspaper each morning – this is to stop the ink from transferring to his masters hands.

He is the one to take a gentleman or lady visitor to the drawing.

He makes sure that other staff, tradesman or workers wait in the hall.

He is responsible for ringing the ‘dress bell’ to let the family and guests know it is time to dress for dinner.

Once everyone has gone to bed he checks that the doors are locked for the evening.

That all lamps and fires have been extinguished.

The butler earns between forty to sixty pound ($4,300 - $6,400) per year. He also receives considerable ‘gratuity’ money from vendors selling goods to maintain the house.
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