The Butler’s Guide to Living Like Downton Abbey | Meredith Sweetpea | Books

image-of-the-butler's-guide-to-running-the-home-by-Stanley-Ager-and-Fiona-St.AubynMiss Meredith Sweetpea is quite enamored with Downton Abbey (along with many, many other people) and was delighted to find a new book titled “The Butler’s Guide to Running the Home and Other Graces,” by Stanley Ager and Fiona St. Aubyn (Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York).

Relating to the popular British PBS series, the forward is written by Alastair Bruce OBE, historical advisor to Downton Abbey.

The Butler’s Guide shares butler Stanley Ager’s “skills acquired during his career, which was a sort of ‘calling’ dedicated in his own words, to ‘the three most important qualities for running a home [which] are punctuality, organization, cleanliness.  If you master these, everything else should fall into place,'” writes Bruce.

The book is written with co-author Fiona St. Aubyn, the granddaughter of Ager’s last employer, the third Lord St. Levan.

Just Like Downton Abbey

Ager became one of the few in his profession to actually record what he knew and how he lived. He began his career in service in 1922 as a lad of fourteen, beginning as a hallboy–the lowest servant of all…meaning his real life parallels the Downton Abbey series. Ager retired in 1975 after 53 years of service.

Inside the pages we learn the ways of the British household staff and practical tips and tricks of the profession that were handed down from generation to generation.

There’s a guide to Running the Home, with everything from how to keep an inventory to how to clean a chandelier; Clothing Care and Packing Techniques; Managing the Table and Folding Napkins; to the final chapter on Other Graces that includes Royal Occasions and Dealing with Servants.

ORDER The Butler’s Guide to Running the Home
and Other Graces

Here’s quick excerpt:

To Polish a Floor

“Wood floors need polishing once a week. A machine will do this admirably. Polishing floors on your hands and knees is a warm job best reserved for a cold day, but it is a good way to wax. It is the only way you can get into the corners and along the skirting board.

You need one or two soft cloths for putting the polish on and bringing up a shine. Fold the first cloth into a pad and hold it in your right palm. Use a small amount of polish, as too much will make the surface sticky. Lean on your left hand and rub the polish in with your right hand, using a firm circular motion. To bring up the shine, you can either turn the pad back to front or use a second cloth. Use the same method as for putting the polish on, but exert less pressure. Never overreach yourself: each polished area should overlap the next. And don’t polish the area under a small rug because someone standing on it might slide and fall.”


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