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The Role of the Victorian Housekeeper


Between 1840 and the 1880s numerous country houses were built for landed families and those with “new money”.  There were more country houses during this period than ever before or since. As a result  we see the development of a key role in the management of these large and small country houses - the Housekeeper.

The housekeeper would manage large number of servants, organise the household and administer a large domestic budget. For all their importance they have been invisible to history. There are so many questions that have not been considered until recently. What was their background? How did they train? Were there scandals? What happened to them when they left service? These are some of the questions that will be addressed.

 See related talk on The Role of the Victorian Gardener - 28 August

About the Speaker: Dr. Judith Hill lectured in adult education, for the WEA, various historical societies and at the University of Surrey. She taught sixteenth, seventeenth and nineteenth century British history. In 2007 she was awarded her PhD researching poverty and unrest in Surrey 1815-1834.

She is now a freelance lecturer and researcher.


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