Lady Mary MacRae recalls an amusing incident

Come to Ickworth to learn more about the Hervey family © National Trust

Come to Ickworth to learn more about the Hervey family


As part of Ickworth lives we have been collecting the memories of those that have previously worked and lived at Ickworth.

At Ickworth there were various types of equipment that would have helped the servants to carry out their duties and one piece of equipment that was in previous use here was the dumbwaiter.

A dumbwaiter is a small lift that is manually operated by a rope and pulley system to carry objects from one floor to another and the one that can find here at Ickworth would have been used regularly to carry food from the kitchen up to the dining room.

But life as a servant at Ickworth wasn’t always about hard work, Lady Mary MacRae a grand-daughter to the 4th Marquess of Bristol recalls the time in which her mother, Lady Phyllis and one of the footmen tried to use the dumbwaiter to carry Lady Pyhllis up to the dining room.

However, things took a turn for the worse when the footman couldn’t hold on tight enough to the rope.

Here Lady Mary MacRae remembers the incident:

‘And that was the lift into which the food went to go up to the dining room… in which one of the footmen put my mother once and she came down with an awful crash – he was terrified when he got down to see what she was like! But luckily she was tough and she survived it. Cause he couldn’t hold the rope: he suddenly discovered that she was heavier than he’d imagined!’

You can learn more about the different types of equipment that would have been used by the servants here at Ickworth when you visit our newly opened basement.