Abbey stank of servants, expert says
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.”