WONERSH
                               © Wonersh History Society
HISTORY SOCIETY
DIARY OF A HOUSEMAID From   May   1919   to   May   1927   Isobel   Rose   Seymour    worked   as   a   housemaid   for   Mrs   Sudbury   in Wonersh   Park.      In   the   summer   of   1970,   a   few   months   before   she   died,   Mrs   Seymour   talked   about   her life there. The   other   members   of   the   Wonersh   Park   house   staff   were   the   cook,   parlour   maid,   between maid   (tweeny)   and   a   house   boy   who   cleaned   the   knives,   polished   the   family’s   shoes,   shook   out the   rugs,   brought   in   the   coal   and,   in   his   spare   time,   helped   the   gardeners.      Outside   there   were two   gardeners,   a   gamekeeper   and   a   coachman   who,   with   the   introduction   of   the   motorcar,   then became the chauffeur. Like   all   the   house   staff,   Mrs   Seymour   ‘lived   in’.      Her   hours   were   7am   to   7pm   although   her afternoons   were   generally   free.      She   described   Mrs   Sudbury   as   a   ‘just’   employer.      The   maids stayed   a   long   time   at   Wonersh   Park   ‘because   they   knew   where   they   were   with   her   -   she   let   you get on with your work without fussing’. Coal   fires   still   warmed   most   of   the   rooms   in   the   old   house,   but   by   then   gas   had   been   introduced in   the   hall,   maids’   sitting   room   and   the   kitchen   where   there   was   a   gas   cooker.      Through   the winter   months   the   family   still   dressed   by   the   light   of   candles   set   in   silver   candlesticks   or   paraffin   lamps.      A   gardener   stoked   the   basement     boiler   to   provide   hot   water   for   the   house   and   there   were   by   this   time   three   bathrooms:      Mrs   Sudbury’s,   one   for   the   family   and   one   for   the staff. Although   Mrs   Sudbury   went   to   Church   herself   each   Sunday,   her   son   John    did   not   and she   didn’t   insist   on   the   servants   going.      However,   she   was   firm   about   Sunday   being   a quiet   day   and   there   were   normally   no   tennis   parties   or   special   guests   on   that   day,   the entrance   gate   remaining   closed.      Tennis   and   bridge   parties   were,   of   course,   often   held at Wonersh Park and John had shooting parties on the estate. Mrs   Seymour   recalled   how   two   of   the   peacocks,   who   were   very   tame,   sometimes   used to   wander   into   John   Sudbury’s   study   from   the   terrace   and   gobble   up   the   cakes   that   had been left with his tray of tea.
Early 20th Century Housemaids - Wikipedia
“As well as taking her daily cold bath, Mrs Sudbury always liked fresh air in her bedroom, no matter how cold the night.  A maid said she saw ice on the water by her bedside one winter’s morning.”
Wandering the Grounds of Wonersh Park (date unknown)