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Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - SERVICE -

NEWS­PA­PERS If your an­ces­tor was in ser­vice in the Ed­war­dian pe­riod or the 1920s, have a look at the ‘Sit­u­a­tions Va­cant’ col­umns in lo­cal news­pa­pers. They will give you an idea of the kind of jobs that were avail­able and the pay they of­fered. You can some­times find let­ters from do­mes­tic ser­vants in the cor­re­spon­dence col­umns, in which they air their griev­ances. Many Bri­tish Li­brary na­tional and lo­cal news­pa­pers can be viewed and searched on­line at www. british­news­pa­per­ar­chive.co.uk. MEM­OIRS Read­ing mem­oirs of for­mer ser­vants is a great way to find out what their work­ing lives were re­ally like. Try Mar­garet Pow­ell’s Below Stairs (1970); Rosina Har­ri­son’s Rose: My Life in Ser­vice (1975); and Jean Ren­nie’s Ev­ery Other Sun­day (1955). ES­TATE RECORDS If your an­ces­tor worked for a coun­try house, sur­viv­ing es­tate records in­clud­ing wages, liv­ery and pen­sion books can be ex­tremely valu­able. Wages books usu­ally name each ser­vant (of­ten with their job ti­tle), list­ing the salary paid; it’s some­times pos­si­ble to see an em­ployee’s pro­gres­sion in terms of pro­mo­tions or in­creases in pay. Check Dis­cov­ery ( dis­cov­ery.na­tion­alarchives.gov.uk) or the Scot­tish Ar­chive Net­work ( www. scan.org.uk) to find out what’s avail­able. ‘BELOW STAIRS’ TOURS Ser­vants’ ac­com­mo­da­tion changed very lit­tle be­tween the late Vic­to­rian pe­riod and the 1930s. You can ex­plore ser­vants’ quar­ters at many Na­tional Trust houses ( na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/ ar­ti­cle-1356401785596), as well as in­de­pen­dent mu­se­ums such as No. 1 Royal Cres­cent, Bath ( no1roy­al­cres­cent. org.uk/ex­plore). Other prop­er­ties of­fer ‘below stairs’ tours; try Bel­ton House, Lin­colnshire ( na­tion­al­trust.org.uk/ bel­ton- house) and Leeds Cas­tle, Kent ( vis­it­maid­stone.com/whats- on/ the-below- stairs-tour-a- ser­vantslife- p229151).

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