Spotlight: Social History of the Edwardian Age

With the popularity of the series Downton Abbey, you may enjoy books telling the stories life during the Edwardian Age. First, explore these tales of servant life: Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey” by Margaret Powell (1968) and The Real Downton Abbey: An Unofficial Guide to the Period which Inspired the Hit TV Show by Jacky Hyams (2011)

Then catch a glimpse into the world of the aristocracy with these titles. The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes (2011) and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon (2011)

These books examine the social history of two ways of life during the Edwardian age in England. They examine the difficulties, the behaviors, advantages, of both classes. In the 1800s, large families were the norm. Many children of the lower class were sent into service to earn money to help their struggling families. The labor supply was cheap and plentiful.

With the advent of World War I and the slaughter of millions of men both lower class and aristocracy, more higher paying jobs opened for both men and women. The servant class numbers began to shrink and a way of life unique to the times started on its way to extinction.

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