General Servant’s Time-Table in Edwardian England

Edwardian maids

Daily Work in a seven-roomed house

Family – Master, mistress, and one child

6 a.m. – Rise, light kitchen fire, fill kettles, clean boots, sweep hall and steps. Sweep, and light dining-room fire, call family, and take hot water. Help mistress to lay table, and prepare breakfast.

8 a.m. – Have kitchen breakfast while family breakfast. Clear kitchen breakfast; tidy kitchen. Attend to bedrooms.

9 a.m. – Help clear dining-room. Wash breakfast things.

9.20 a.m. – Help make beds; receive daily orders. Dust bedrooms.

10.15 a.m. – Do special work for the day. Help in the kitchen, etc.

12.30 a.m. – Lay cloth for luncheon.

1 p.m. – Dining-room luncheon and kitchen dinner.

1.45 p.m. – Remove and wash lunch things. Tidy kitchen. Make up fire.

2.30 p.m. – Change dress. Put large clean apron over afternoon black dress and muslin apron, and do some light work, such as cleaning silver, sewing, ironing. Be ready to answer front door.

4 p.m. – Prepare drawing-room and kitchen teas.

4.30 p.m. – Carry in drawing-room tea.

5.15 p.m. – Remove and wash tea. things.

6 p.m. – Arrange bedrooms for the night. Help prepare dinner.

7 p.m. – Lay table.

7.30 or 8 p.m. – Serve dinner and wait at table {the amount possible depends on the skill of the mistress in organising and arranging this meal).

8.30 or 9 p.m. – Clear, and wash up dinner things. Tidy kitchen. Have supper.

9.45 p.m. – Take hot water to bedrooms and go to bed.

The mistress should see that the general reading, or going on some errand during servant has an hour off for writing letters, the afternoon or early evening each day.

Special Weekly Work

Monday Morning – Wash kitchen cloths, dusters, and any small articles done at home.

Tuesday Morning – Clean large bedroom.

Wednesday Morning – Clean two small bedrooms.

Thursday Morning – Clean dining-room, bathroom, and lavatory.

Friday Morning – Clean staircase, hall, and sweep drawing-room.

Friday Afternoon – Clean kitchen brasses, etc.

Saturday Morning – Clean kitchen range thoroughly, and do extra work in larder, etc.

Wages of a general servant vary in different localities from £12 to £24 per annum. Usually 1s. to 1s. 6d. is allowed for laundry expenses, according to the time allowed for getting up her own small things.

Dress. – Print dresses, with neat white aprons and caps, should be worn for mornings, and large coarse aprons should be used when stoves have to be cleaned or scullery work done. A black dress, pretty muslin apron and cap, should be worn in the afternoon.

If low wages are paid, the mistress will often give the maid material for one black dress, or provide her caps, aprons, cuffs, etc.; but this is a voluntary matter.

From the Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, v1


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3 replies on “General Servant’s Time-Table in Edwardian England”
  1. says: Hayden

    I love it. 🙂 I’ve always been fascinated with how servants went about their days since a lot more material’s available regarding the upper-class and their lifestyle.

    I’m wondering, too – was this schedule pretty much the same throughout the Victorian period as well?

    1. says: Evangeline

      I was inclined to agree, but when I look at of my core list of research books, I think the neglected class is the middle-class! And I would assume this schedule was unvaried and unchanged for most of the 19th century, but the Edwardians were the last generation to have an extremely full staff of servants (Longleat, the seat of the Marquess of Bath, numbered 43 in its staff, ranging from two still room maids to an under butler to the butler and a house steward).

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