Monday, June 18, 2007

New Housekeeper at Tredegar

There is a new Housekeeper at Tredegar House. Such news would have sent shock waves through the establishment in Victorian times. What would the new Housekeeper be like? Would she rule with a rod of iron, or did she own a particularly nice pair of velvet gloves? Would the Still Room maids feel her wrath, or would the new regime be slightly more lenient on burnt toast than the old? All these questions would have swept through the Servant's Hall like a brush fire.

Today, the new Housekeeper is Caitlin Eales. Cait is not only the present day Housekeeper (I'm not sure how strict she is about burnt toast, as yet), but also occasionally plays the role of her late Victorian predecessor Mrs Williams for the school tours, which must present something of an identity crisis for her at times. Welcome Cait!

Now, I'm sure Cait already has the following qualities in abundance, but, I thought this advice to Housekeepers by Mrs Beeton, would be worth pointing out:

" 61. IN CONCLUDING THESE REMARKS on the duties of the housekeeper, we will briefly refer to the very great responsibility which attaches to her position. Like “Caesar’s wife,” she should be “above suspicion,” and her honesty and sobriety unquestionable; for there are many temptations to which she is exposed. In a physical point of view, a housekeeper should be healthy and strong, and be particularly clean in her person, and her hands, although they may show a degree of roughness, from the nature of some of her employments, yet should have a nice inviting appearance. In her dealings with the various tradesmen, and in her behaviour to the domestics under her, the demeanour and conduct of the housekeeper should be such as, in neither case, to diminish, by an undue familiarity, her authority or influence."

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