Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants portrayed in Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, Margaret Powell’s classic memoir of her time in service, Below Stairs, is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high. Powell first arrived at the servants' entrance of one of those great houses in the 1920s. As a kitchen maid - the lowest of the low - she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and bootlaces to be ironed.
"Cooking and cleaning before the modern stoves etc"
From the grand houses of Brighton to imposing London mansions, life as a kitchen maid could be exhausting and demoralizing. It's not just being at the beck and call of the people upstairs, when even the children of the family can treat you like dirt, but having to deal with temperamental cooks, starchy butlers, and chauffeurs with a roving eye. Marriage is the only escape, but with one evening off a week Margaret has no time to lose.