Archive for Domestic Servants

Thinking Back: Charlotte Cole, Maid to Alice Sterling and Family

Posted in Crewe Reflections... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2014 by creweofthearchangel

Who are you?

My name is Charlotte (Lottie) Cole and I grew up in a large family in London, England.

What are your dealings with the Archangel?

I serve as lady’s maid to Mistress Sterling. I see to her needs and desires as befitting my position and those of caring for her’s and the captain’s children Kitty, Thomas and the twins Ella and Andrew. I came into her service during her masquerade as the Turkish Princess and she and the captain have been most kind to keep me on. I take great satisfaction in the work. I also fill the role of traveling companion when Mistress Sterling takes to the seas, which has been most exciting for me!

What is your most memorable event concerning that relationship, and do you have any prized possessions connected to the event?

Recently, Mistress Sterling has seen fit to take me on as her lace-making apprentice! I would have been fortunate enough to remain in her employ as lady’s maid for the rest of my days; I never imagined being granted the opportunity to learn such a skill. I have few personal belongings, and my lace-making pillow is prized amongst them. I suppose it represents freedom to me, as I hope always to earn my own way in the world.


“Provide for their [servants’] support and their maintenance; let them not want in their work. Be punctual likewise in their pay. When the work is done, the laborer is worthy of his hire; if he deserve better, encourage thy servant in well-doing; this will encourage him for the future to do well.”

“Behave thyself so in thy family, so that those below will love and fear you.”

“Be not too familiar with thy servants, neither let them be too privy to thy secrets….Keep a distance with discretion, that others may know their places, do thou know thine.”

“Be not imperious, yet keep thy staff in thy own hand. Let them rather see thy power than feel it. …. Choose those that will be careful without chiding; and delight to see them cheerful in their business and to do it with delight.”

“Rebuke in private, public rebuke hardens.”

“The greatest master minds his meanest servants.”
~Advice of a father, or, Counsel to a child (1664)

“In small households, generally lower middle class, or even lower class, with only one servant, that servant was generally female. Cheaper wages (as low as £2 for a general maidservant) is one contribution to this. If another servant was employed, it would often be a child, whose wages would be minimal or even nonexistent.

Slightly larger households might have more even numbers of female and male servants. Perhaps they would have a maid or two (who might cook, clean, and do other duties, as well), a boy to do general errands (who may or may not be paid), and a manservant for various other work. Only in households with at least three or four servants were there likely to be menservants employed.

A modest household might have three male servants and two female- one manservant to be coachman and farm manager, one to be footman and gardener, a boy, and two maids, one of whom would presumably do the cooking.”
~Servants: English Domestics in the Eighteenth Century</strong> by Bridget Hill

Copyright 2014 A. Cole