Written by Tessa Boare and published by Aurum Press Ltd. in 2014. Signed by the author on the title page.
This is the story of the invisible women who ran the English country house. Working as a housekeeper was one of the most prestigious jobs a nineteenth and early twentieth century woman could want - and also one of the toughest. A far cry from the Downton Abbey fiction, the real life Mrs Hughes was up against capricious mistresses, low pay, no job security and gruelling physical labour. Delving into secret diaries, unpublished letters and the neglected service archives of our stately homes, Tessa Boase tells the extraordinary stories of five working women who ran some of Britain's most prominent households. Dorothy Doar, Regency housekeeper for the 1st Duke and Duchess of Sutherland at Trentham Hall, Staffordshire; Sarah Wells, a deaf and elderly Victorian in charge of Uppark, West Sussex; Ellen Penketh, Edwardian cook-housekeeper at the sociable but impecunious Erddig Hall in the Welsh borders; Hannah Mackenzie at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire and Grace Higgens, cook-housekeeper to the Bloomsbury set at Charleston farmhouse in East Sussex for half a century .