Door Man to the Tsar – My Most Popular Post | toritto

Soon it will be a full hundred years since that fateful July 1914 when Imperial Russia mobilized its armies to confront the Central Powers in what would become World War I.  It was the beginning of the end of the Romanov dynasty and the court of the last Tsar.

The Romanov court required a staggering number of servants.  At the Winter Palace alone over 1,000 were in constant attendance; when the Tsar and the Empress were in actual residence as many as 6,000 were needed.

Now being “in service” to the royal family wasn’t too bad a gig for the time.  Most of those…

via Door Man to the Tsar – My Most Popular Post | toritto

The Shocking Death of Victorian Servant Eliza Bollends

Mimi Matthews

A Scullery Maid at Work by Charles Joseph Grips, 1866.A Scullery Maid at Work by Charles Joseph Grips, 1866.

Many historical novels feature a serving girl who has gotten herself into “trouble.”  In fiction, the understanding mistress of the house is quick to intervene and, in short order, the serving girl’s future is secured to everyone’s satisfaction.  In reality, female servants of the 19th century were expected to preserve their reputations in order to maintain genteel employment.  The character of one’s servants was a reflection on the house as a whole.  To that end, no respectable Victorian lady wanted a light-skirt for a housemaid or a wanton for a cook, and many mistresses strictly forbade male callers or “hangers on.” 

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Life below stairs – the duties of a Georgian housemaid | All Things Georgian

Originally posted on All Things Georgian.

Maid servant being scolded, courtesy of Lewis Walpole

Many of our posts take a look at the upper echelons of Georgian society, so this time we thought it might be interesting to look at what it would have been like to have worked ‘below stairs’ as a housemaid in a Georgian household: it’s not quite Downton Abbey though!

Although these duties weren’t written until towards the end of the Georgian era, the workload would more than likely have been the same for the previous hundred years or more. Having taken a look, our conclusion is that it’s certainly not a job for us, what do you think?


A housemaid should be active, clean, and neat in her person. Be an early riser, of a respectful and steady deportment, and possessed of a temper that will not be easily ruffled. She must be able to see without much appearance of discomposure her labours often increased by the carelessness and thoughtlessness of others.

Many a dirty foot will obtrude itself upon her clean floors; and the well-polished furniture will demand her strength and patience, when spotted or soiled by some reckless…

via Life below stairs – the duties of a Georgian housemaid | All Things Georgian.

From Washerwoman to Queen of Paris

Victorian Paris

Election of the Queen Election of the Queen

Paris of the 19th century was home to a boisterous and hard-working female corporation. Nearly one hundred thousand washerwomen worked either in the brick-and-mortar laundries across the city, or in the bateaux-lavoirs  –  wooden constructions floating on the river.  They labored twelve to fifteen hours a day, six days a week, with no sick leave or paid vacation. Once a year though, Paris treated them like royalty. During the feasts of Mid-Lent, the streets of Paris exploded with the frenzy of carnival, whose principal actors were the washerwomen. With great pomp and circumstance, the women of each lavoir elected a queen and the new sovereigns, escorted by masks, paraded on the boulevards in elaborate floats. Much drinking and merry-making accompanied the procession. In the 1890’s city authorities decided to nominate the Queen of Queens—the best of all the locally elected queens—to represent the spirit…

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