Thursday, March 20, 2014

At Your Service - 19th Century Housekeeper

Referred to as “Mrs.” by the other servants, whether she was married or not.
The housekeeper was second in command of the household, and the immediate representative of her mistress. 
In larger households the housekeeper’s sole duty is to engage, manage and dismiss the female servants, with the exception of lady’s maid, nurse and cook, whom the mistress engages. 
In smaller households, the housekeeper manages the stores, both ordering and dispersing them. 
In charge of:
She tends to the house linen, both repairing it and replacing it as necessary. 
She oversees
The china-closet
The stillroom department
Superintends the arrangement of bedrooms for visitors and their servants.

Her daily routine includes:
Overlooks the stillroom
Sees what china and linen is given out for breakfast,
Presides over the housekeeper’s room breakfast,
Gives out the stores for the day
Assist in washing china
Makes rounds of the bedrooms
Replaces supplies such as candles, writing paper and soap
Makes sure the rooms are clean and in order
Presides over the servant’s hall dinner
Arranges dessert for dinner
Makes tea in the afternoon, and makes the coffee for dinner. 
She also makes preserves and bottles fruit.
She keeps the household accounts
Does most of the needlework
Reported to the Mistress of the house.

The housekeepers salary was 35 – 50 pound ($3,700 - $5,400) per year.
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