Servants’ Hall: A Real-Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance

Written by Margaret Powell
Review by Lucy Bertoldi

Servants’ Hall brings domestic service in 1920s England to life through the memoirs of Margaret Powell (1907-1984), author-narrator, and ‘below stairs’, kitchen maid herself.  Much of the book is about her own life in the Wardham residence.  Filled with anecdotes of the times and actual happenings in the lives of the servants working alongside her, the book offers interesting insights detailing the world of difference separating servants from the aristocracy.  A constant concern for Margaret is her quest to find a husband; seemingly, nothing could be worse than living her life as a spinster.

But the fascinating part is the story she tells of Rose – a maid who elopes with the Wardhams’ only son. The shock of it all and the scandal that this caused (and both servants and nobles were on the same side on this one) was definitely the highlight of Servants’ Hall.  Fans of Downton Abbey will adore this book