Margaret Powell & Downtown Abby

written by Lee Strauss | Ginger Gold Mysteries

March 9, 2018

Have you heard of Margaret Powell? 

A fun part of writing the Ginger Gold Mysteries is researching how households, such as Hartigan House, were run. Ginger Gold is not the only one who likes to get into adventures — Mrs. Beasley and maids Grace and Lizzie have their escapades, although mostly behind the scenes. You can learn a bit more about what their lives are like by reading Margaret Powell's memoir (see below) describing her experience as a maid in 1920s England. Powell began as a kitchen maid, working from dawn to dusk until she finally rose in ranks to achieve her dream of becoming the head cook.

I really enjoyed reading about Miss Powell's life. There was definitely an upstairs/downstairs world at that time and I found it fascinating how the two social classes co-existed side by side and yet remained quite separate, even when under the same roof. 

Miss Powell worked extremely hard. Back-breaking, finger-bleeding kind of hard. Fortunately for Mrs. Beasley, Grace and Lizzie, the household help at Hartigan House have an easier time of it than real-life Margaret Powell did.

Margaret Powell's book will inspire you to go after your dreams, even if it means the road ahead will be hard and bumpy.

Do you have a dream you wish you'd gone after?

The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"

Below Stairs, is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high.

Powell first arrived at the servants' entrance of one of those great houses in the 1920s. As a kitchen maid – the lowest of the low – she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and bootlaces to be ironed. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark.


Below the Stairs

The sequel to New York Times bestseller Below StairsServants' Hall tells a gripping real-life tale reminiscent of Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil and Tom Branson.

Servants' Hall tells the true story of Rose, the under-parlourmaid to the Wardham Family at Redlands, who took a shocking step: She eloped with the family's only son, Mr. Gerald.

Going from rags to riches, Rose finds herself caught up in a maelstrom of gossip, incredulity and envy among her fellow servants.


Servant's Hall

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