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Downstairs Upstairs: The life and times of a kitchen maid

Margaret Soden
Farmleigh House and Estate

Downstairs Upstairs: The life and times of a kitchen maid based in Dublin The aspect here is educational, social history to be precise. Various archival resources are being researched in an effort to formulate a realistic picture of the life and times of a young Irish kitchen maid working in a big house in Dublin in the early decades of twentieth century. The blog will obliquely question the portrayal of life below stairs in period drama pieces and take a cold look at the harsh realities of life for a young girl who was at the bottom of an incredibly hierarchical chain of service. Hopefully we will learn what daily life was really like for young kitchen maids and latterly how some girls managed to overcome the obstacles gender and class had placed in their way to capitalise on opportunities that previous generations of servants could not even conceive of. This blog will most likely form the first in a series of pieces that seeks to examine various aspects of life in the Big House in Ireland in the early 20th century and will be available on the Farmleigh website and/or form the basis for a Downstairs/Upstairs tour.

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