Abbey stank of ser­vants, ex­pert says

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

LIFE at Down­ton Abbey is com­pletely wrong and “in­fu­ri­at­ing to watch”, ac­cord­ing to an ex­pert on the pe­riod.

His­to­rian Jen­nifer Newby said ser­vants in the hit coun­try house drama – cre­ated by Os­car win­ner Ju­lian Fel­lowes and star­ring Jes­sica Brown Find­lay as Lady Sy­bil ( above) – look too clean and are too friendly with their em­ploy­ers.

She said: “I find it in­fu­ri­at­ing to watch, it sets my teeth on edge. The re­la­tion­ship they have with their em­ploy­ers is to­tally wrong.”

Ms Newby, editor of Fam­ily His­tory mag­a­zine and author of new book Women’s Lives, read hundreds of let­ters and di­aries kept by peo­ple who worked in ser­vice and the fam­i­lies they worked for.

She said: “The ser­vants in the drama are far too clean. The re­al­ity would have been a lot more grubby, peo­ple don’t re­alise ser­vants stank.

“I read of a wo­man who worked in a vicarage who was only al­lowed to wash when the vicar was out.”

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