24th January 2020 — Our two P Form classes headed off to Hopetoun House to learn more about what working life was like in a Victorian Manor. We were greeted by Mrs Ward and Mrs Carmichael who were already dressed for the occasion as housekeepers.
After a quick explanation on what the group would be doing, we were allocated jobs. We had nursemaids, parlour maids, footmen, scullery maids, valets, boot boys and housemaids. With so many jobs to learn about, it was a very full day. We split into groups and went off to explore. It was fascinating gaining an understanding of life in the manor for people who lived ‘under the stairs’, meaning the many servants that had to work behind the scenes, and we were able to see the servants accommodation and compare this to the grandeur of the ‘above stairs’ rooms.
After our exploration we had a quick lunch and then went back into our groups for the afternoon activity of working in the kitchen and writing letters with ink and quills, which turned out to be a fairly messy process!
In the kitchen we learnt all about the variety of jobs that needed doing and tried our hand at everything from carpet beating and floor cleaning to polishing the brass and making butter.
We wrapped up our butter for later consumption with scones, thanked Mrs Ward and Mrs Carmichael and headed back to school. It was a very interesting day, which reinforced all that we have been learning about life in Victorian Britain.