Discover the hidden depths of Berrington as we take you 'below stairs'
Berrington's hidden history is being unveiled, as you discover the life of the Georgian servants who lived below Berrington Hall's glamourous facade.
Berrington Hall, like the majority of gentry’s houses in the Georgian period, was filled with servants. With the average wage of a housemaid being £5 until the nineteenth century, it is often that these people are forgotten about and lost underneath the grandeur of the household that they reside.
The relationship between the servants and their masters was one of hierarchy. This can be demonstrated by historian Dennis Romano’s statement about the servant and master bond, ‘No relationship, with the exception of that between husbands and wives, better expresses the patriarchal and hierarchical ideal of early modern society’.
A section of Berrington that physically expresses Romano’s quote is the stairway leading down into the Servants Quarters. It has been referred to as ‘the unadorned iron staircase leading downwards'. It is this entrance that visitors use to enter into the servants quarters, after having gone through the mansion. Once you enter into them it becomes easy to see how the history behind their lifestyle can be neglected.
In 2016 the task of revealing how the servants lived in Berrington’s Servants Quarters was undertaken. This was only possible due to the generosity of all of our visitors, for every penny they spend goes towards the conservation and upkeep of Berrington.
" the unadorned iron staircase leading downwards "
This allowed us to make 'below stairs' come to life for the Christmas period. This included demonstrations of the servant’s lifestyle, from how they played to the cookery skills they needed. After a lot of conservation and thanks to the support of all of our visitors, we were able to take you back in time and open the below stairs.
All of the servants quarters have been restored to let you uncover this authentic Georgian way of life. You can now experience for yourself the contrast of the Georgian gentry's life above and the secrets of the servants hidden below with one of our tours.