They Also Serve
The real life story of my time in service as a butler
By Tom Quinn
The real story of my life in service as a butler
During more than thirty years in a variety of houses, Bob Sharpe managed to rise from garden boy to valet and butler.As a boy he had to kill pheasant chicks, boil rabbits for the estate dogs, carry the wood up and down stairs every day for thirty fires and sleep on the floor outside his master's room. He cleaned shoes, ironed underwear and socks and once had to stand all night in the hall waiting for a late visitor to arrive.But as a butler he was the best paid servant in the house, waited on, feared and respected by the other servants.Bob Sharpe knew the real world of upstairs downstairs and the secrets of the landed gentry - even to the point of incest and attempted murder!
Bob Sharpe, who was born in 1902 and died in 1985, worked both in London and in several country houses.
Tom Quinn is the editor of the Country Landowner's Magazine. He has written several small books for small independent publishers. He has spent the last twenty years interviewing people who worked in domestic service, getting them to tell him their life stories.
- Other details
- Publication date:
30 Aug 2012
- Page count:
Praise for the Lives of Servants — Various
Reading this fascinating book is likely to unleash anyone's inner Bolshevik...! — Daily Mail
...a fascinating portrait of the drudgery and servility of a domestic's life. — The Age
...captures the subtelties of the English class system to an extraordinary degree. — Midstate Observer
If the Brothers Grimm had ended Cinderella where she was being forced to clean the house by her stepsisters, they might have accidentally been writing Rose Plummer's biography. The maid's story makes for harsh, heartbreaking, fascinating reading. — The Daily Telegraph, NZ