When I saw this book I knew it had to be part of British Isles Friday!
An excerpt from the Introduction:
“In 1900, general housework in the British home was so labour intensive that it required a workforce of servants to implement it. This in turn entrenched a hierarchy of exacting standards of cleanliness, etiquette and order that made it impossible for the middle-class family to imagine being without domestic help.
Taking their inspiration from the upper-class country household, with it’s fleets of uniformed and liveried retainers, middle-class homeowners financially crippled themselves to afford even a single maid rather than suffer the ignominy of doing their own housework.”
For starters, I personally would rather have the money in my pocket and do my own dusting if it came to pinching pennies just to have someone else clean. But British culture is different than mine, and you have to also consider the time period when this may have been the rule rather than the exception.
What is great about this book is the number of basic tips that are natural in regard to cleaning. Basic ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar and salt were employed to clean. What a green way to attack your household dirt, I love it. Much of the information can be put to use in modern households, in America or the British Isles, but I chose to read it for the trivia and old old servant’s memoirs regarding housekeeping tips.
This book has a wealth of advice and many classic old photos of a British household. It’s worth a look.