Here are some photos from my recent visit to Montacute House in Somerset, where my ancestors and their siblings were tailoresses, boxmakers, kitchen maids and serving maids. It was fascinating to see where they spent their day-to-day lives.
Obviously there was a sense of strangeness as I was able to walk around the master’s quarters quite freely (it’s now a National Trust property), whereas the servants would have been restricted to certain areas of the house. Sadly there was no public access to the ‘downstairs’ side of life and the only records on display were too modern to feature any of my relatives, as they were involved with the house during the 1850s and 70s.
I’m hoping to make contact with the local records office in Yeovil to obtain some more information about what they got up to and how they lived, as the house seems to have been fairly efficient in its data collecting and even had some photographs of staff. It would be incredible to see one of my ancestors and put a name to a face, especially considering the obscurity that these servants lived in. Knowing what they looked like would help me to acknowledge them and preserve their memories.