How Life Was Really Lived in Stately Homes a Century Ago
They were the super rich of their times, pampered beyond belief - the early 20th-century Edwardian gentry, who lived like superstars, their every desire or need catered to by an army of butlers, servants, footmen, housekeepers and grooms. Class, money, inheritance, luxury and snobbery dominated every aspect of the lives of the upper-crust Edwardian family. Below stairs the staff inhabited a completely different world, their very dependent on servicing the rich and pandering to their masters' every whim. Rubbing shoulders with wealth and privilege, they were privy to the most intimate and darkest secrets. Yet they faced ruin and shame if they ventured to make even the smallest step outside the boundaries of their class-ridden world. From manners and morals to etiquette and style, The Real Life Downton Abbey opens the doors to this fascinating period in British history.
Jacky Hyams is a freelance journalist and editor who regularly writes for the "Evening Standard."