Housekeeper's Room

Objects In The Room

No. 1 for Kids
For Kids

The Housekeeper’s Room

Usually a woman of more mature years, the Housekeeper was a valued and skilled professional. Her status as the most important female servant meant she had her own room for comfort and privacy. Here she organised the household and paid bills. Other servants rarely entered. Her status meant that the Housekeeper dined in this room, rather than eating with the other servants in the Servants’ Hall.

The Housekeeper

Paid about £15 per year (£1,308 today) she would also receive an allowance for tea and sugar. The Housekeeper was responsible for the smooth running of the household, supervising other female servants, ordering goods, keeping the household keys and maintaining the store cupboards. The Mistress depended on her housekeeper to see all her orders were enforced and every rule kept up.

Servant Sleeping Quarters

We don’t have any servant bedrooms available to show you, but we know that male and female servants were separated and slept in different areas of the house where space allowed. We think the Scullery Maid would have slept in the Scullery and the Footman would have had a bedroom in what is now the Servants’ Hall. Other servant bedrooms were also on the very top floor, not open to the public but used as staff offices – maybe the servants of today?!

The Upstairs Maid

Wealthier families would hire maids for £2 to £5 per year (£174-£436 today). Their jobs included polishing, making beds, repairing and making household linens. A maid rose early to clean hearths and light fires. Then open shutters, shake rugs, sweep carpets, dust, clean mirrors, fill kettles for the family and take to bedrooms, all before breakfast. When the family were downstairs she would open windows, uncover beds to air (helps with bugs and fleas). Turn mattress weekly, dust beds and drapes. Empty slops and clean chamber pots. In the afternoon she maintained household linen, then upstairs to tidy rooms and prepare for night. Finally she would help others as necessary!

Objects In The Room

Housekeeper's Book

The Experienced English Housekeeper by Elizabeth Raffald was first published in 1769 and became one of the most popular housekeeper’s manuals and cookery books in the Georgian period. As most servants could not read, these books were aimed at the more educated housekeeper rather than lower-level servants.


Known as a blowing tube, this type of bellows was used to revive the dying embers of the fire. The forked end stood in the hearth and the user blew down the mouthpiece at the top. Blowing tubes were sometimes made from old flintlock gun barrels

China Closet

Always close to the Housekeeper, were the china closets, linen cupboards and storage for dried goods, spices, soap and candles, all of which she kept under lock and key. You can see pieces from our Chamberlain Worcester Dessert Service, c. 1795 and at Christmas time they feature in the Dining Room. This 43 piece dessert service was made for Mr A. Heathcote, No. 20 Royal Crescent, Bath. The original cost was £32.6.0. Each piece from the dessert service depicts a different Aesop’s fables scene. These stories were very popular in the late 18th century.

Candles and Candlestick Holders

Households relied on oil lamps and candles for lighting and providing a constant supply of candles was an important role of the servants. In her Housekeeper’s Manual, Susanna Whatman instructed the housekeeper to teach her maids to carry candles upright as she well understood the risk of house fires if a leaning candle should fall over.