A servant's life at Petworth House

The historic kitchens at Petworth House

Take a peep behind the doors into the historic kitchens and see where the servants would have worked. In 1829 alone these kitchens served nearly 30,000 guests.

Servants’ quarters

Built in the mid-18th century, the servants' quarters are little changed since Victorian times. The building would once have accommodated around 40 live-in servants, who were needed to support the vast estate.

The historic kitchens

The main kitchen is home to some of our 1,000 copper pots and pans, as well as a traditional roasting range, bain-marie and gas stove – that’s over 300 years of cooking styles in one room. Adjoining the kitchen you’ll find the larder, pastry room and scullery, all cleverly laid out to make the servants’ quarters as efficient as possible.

Secrets of the servants

As well as footmen, Petworth employed kitchen staff, estate staff, a chef, house Steward, housekeeper, under maids and housemaids.
" Our instructions were that when Lord Leconfield came in we all had to troop out carrying our buckets with us… when for some reason his Lordship came back into the hall… we all walked out with our buckets. Eventually he became irritated and told the Housekeeper in his forthright way that he hadn’t got some bloody disease. A notice was put up to that effect and after this we stayed put."
- Harriet Best, Housemaid in 1918