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.
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.
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!