J5 recently went to Holdenby House as part of their studies about the Victorians. They spent the day in role as poor children from the workshouse trying to obtain employment and had a range of jobs, including scullion, laundry maid, groom and valet.
Mrs Crumpet (cook) and Mrs Bumbridge (housekeeper) maintained a fierce order throughout the day and kept the children on their toes. There was no time to rest from their chores, so if they finished dusting and tidying Her Ladyship’s bedroom, there was the washing and ironing to be done (500 plunges of the dolly to clean the clothes in the tub) and for the boys: leather saddles and shoes and brass polishing.
The children also learned how to make butter balls, grind bread for breadcrumbs, clean the cutlery and lay the table. It was exhausting work!
The day ended with a performance of a song to Her Ladyship and the Duchess after which they could relax. It was a super day.