The Georgian House
This room was for the housekeeper to use. Here, she would write up her accounts, make orders for food and perhaps sit and drink tea made from her mistress’ used tea leaves, one of the benefits which went with her job.
Her duties included ordering the food, cooking or overseeing the preparation of meals, keeping accounts and ensuring the family got good value for money from the various suppliers such as the fishmonger and the butcher.
The housekeeper was responsible for all the food ordered and delivered to the house. She would have keys to the cupboards used to store the food. Mrs Pinney kept the expensive leaf tea in locked caddies or containers in the drawing room, and only she had the key to the tea caddy. In the housekeeper’s room there is china and furniture that the family no longer wanted. By the fire is a pair of wooden ‘pattens’. These were worn slipped over day shoes to prevent them from getting muddy or wet when walking outside.
The housekeeper was an important member of the staff, and would have a bedroom of her own, probably in the attic. The less important servants would have to share. Male servants might sleep in the attics or over the stables.
The typical wage for a housekeeper in 1795 was 16 guineas a year (£16.16s.0d, or about £800 in today’s values). A general maid would have been paid about nine guineas a year (about £450 today).