Margaret Doyle remembers Lady Bristol of Ickworth

Hear stories from the time of the 4th Marquis and Marchioness of Bristol © Alan Jary

Hear stories from the time of the 4th Marquis and Marchioness of Bristol

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As part of Ickworth Lives, we’ve been collecting the memories of former servants at Ickworth.

During the 4th Marchioness’s time at Ickworth, she would personally interview members of her own staff and Margaret Doyle (nee Sitch) recalls her own interview in which her mother called her lazy.

In spite of this Margaret went on to secure a position at Ickworth as a kitchen maid and after leaving school at the tender age of fourteen, she began work at the estate in the 1940s.

Kitchen maids would have worked incredibly long hours starting very early in the morning until late in the evening. Typically they would have got as little as half a day off a week and duties would have included such things as plucking pheasants, scrubbing floors and pans and peeling potatoes.

At such a young age Margaret would have been in awe of the grandeur of the estate and especially of Lord and Lady Bristol and here she recalls her time working for the 4th Marchioness of Bristol:

‘Lady Bristol, she’d come across the Dining Room floor and she wore brogue shoes with metal plate toe and heel and as she came down the stairs – clip, clip, clip. And she had an enamel plate, which she turned upside down and she was always tapping on it, singing a hymn and she’d give Miss Sangster the menu for the day. And if she walked into the Kitchen, Lady Bristol, you walked out. She used to come down for the dogs’ biscuits, you see. But they had to be cut half an inch square.’

Visit our newly opened basement to learn more about the kind of duties that Margaret Doyle and other servants would have performed during their time at Ickworth.