A servant's day at Erddig

Erddig's bells which hang outside the Servants' Hall would have rung all day to call the servants to more work.

Teenagers came into service, leaving home for the first time. At Erddig a girl of 16 or 17 would be shown her bedroom in the attic, sharing with another maid. A hall boy may have been only 12 years old.

Getting up early

A scullery maid might need to get up at 5.30am, have a quick wash in cold water and dress. Then down to the cold kitchen to clean the iron range and light the fire. Getting water boiling was first priority then take cups of tea to the Housekeeper and Cook, and hot water for them to wash.

Visit Erddig's Chapel in the additional wing commissioned by John Meller
Interior of Erddig Chapel Andreas von Einsiedel


 
There is breakfast to prepare, first for the other servants to be eaten in the Servants' Hall. Then next for the Yorke family and their guests to be served breakfast in the Dining Room. At 9 o'clock all the servants met in the Chapel for morning prayers led by Mr Yorke.

Working all day

In the morning the cook and her staff would be preparing meals for lunch, afternoon tea and an evening dinner party, as well as the servants' meals. The housemaids would have beds to make, slop pails and chamber pots to empty and all the rooms to clean.

Imagine life as a servant on a visit to Erddig
The Dry Laundry at Erddig used for drying and ironing with mangle and drying racks

The laundry maids would be busy washing and ironing all the laundry for the house. Footmen had oil lamps to clean and fill, silver to polish, glass to wash and coal and wood to supply for all the fires.
 
If jobs were done, there may be an hour or two off in the afternoon to put their feet up, but work started again by 4pm  There was hot water to be carried to the bedrooms for washing, beds to be turned down, curtains to be closed, fires kept going, lamps lit, the servants' evening meal to be prepared, the dinner table set and a six-course meal served for the family upstairs. 

Finally to bed

And the last person to finish work would be the scullery maid who would need to finish all the washing up after the dinner party, before she could climb the stairs at about 10pm to her attic bedroom for a good nights sleep, ready for a new day tomorrow.

Discover the real lives of servants at Erddig
The fire attic four poster servant's bed Erddig Nadia Mackenzie

A sleeping burglar alarm

But the footman would not get to sleep in his own bedroom. He would sleep on a metal camp bed in the Butler's Pantry, the bed wedged across the door to the silver safe, a sleeping burglar alarm.

See if you can find his bed which is still in the Butler's Pantry.