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Friday 12 February 2021 – The Housekeeper’s Tale: The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House – Zoom online event

Lecturer:  Tessa Boase

Booking Months:
Cost:  No charge
Location:  Online

A Housekeeper’s Tale: The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House
As the most senior of upper servants, the housekeeper typically carried a family’s secrets with her to the grave. She ran the English country house, controlled its female servants and conserved its many treasures – and yet she has not been remembered history. Using old letters, secret diaries and neglected archives, Tessa has resurrected a series of fascinating stories from 19th and 20th century domestic service, at some of our most prominent households. The opening lecture sets this historic role in context by examining a rare bundle of application letters for the top job of housekeeper to Prime Minister Lord Salisbury at Hatfield House, 1890. What, precisely, was he looking for?

Wrest Park, Bedfordshire: ‘The Country House Great War Hospital’
Once an indulgent weekend chateau, Wrest Park transformed itself into the War Office’s best country-house base hospital, patching up the bodies of some 2000 soldiers. But when housekeeper Hannah Mackenzie crossed swords with Matron Miss Martin, the resulting bitter blood feud undermined the smooth running of the great house – with explosive results.

Programme Times
First Lecture : 10.30 – 11.30
Break : 11.30 – 11.45
Second Lecture : 11.45 – 12.45