Mrs Thornton’s bedroom was above the present Library [Rm 201/203/205]. Being the Head Housemaid, she had a room to herself. The Second and Third Housemaids had to share, and the Laundry Maids slept on the floor above. Mrs Thornton’s sitting room was Room 403/405. It used to have huge cupboards along one wall and a large fireplace. There had been a door on one wall which led out to the railway passage. There was a huge boiler just outside the railway door where water was heated. The track came all the way along to the boiler carrying coal, and the stairs were always filthy with coal dust. Water would then be carried to the Blue Corridor and up to the third floor, which was known as the Nurseries [500s]. The Valets slept on this floor and when the Jesuits were in residence the Novices slept there. When Mr Pearson Gregory’s grandchildren visited they did not sleep in the Nurseries but in rooms off the Gilt Stairs [Rooms 128/130]. The room now housing the women’s showers was the only room in the house with a bath, and this was for the use of servants.
Spring cleaning began the first week in January and they tried to finish by July. There were three housemaids – extra help being brought in only for a shoot. The balcony above the Cedar Staircase was cleaned once a year and was swept with a dustpan and brush. Mrs Lockyer, the Housekeeper, held the key to the balcony and was on tenterhooks until the key was returned.
Mrs. Thornton’s recollections, Head Housemaid, 1928-1937
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