Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs. Part 1 of 3 - Knowing Your Place.

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Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs. Part 1 of 3 - Knowing Your Place. 4.5
Servanthood is the blurred line between wage slavery and chattel slavery but in recent years popular costume dramas set in the British colonial period such as "Downton Abbey" and "Poldark" whitewash this for the sake of romanticism. This is the first of three in a 2012 documentary series which looks at what life was like for British servants in that period. Unfortunately what appears as history here is still the reality for millions around the world, including children.

Presenter: Pamela Cox
Executive Producer: Emma Hindley
Series Producer: Annabel Hobley


💬 Comments on the video
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wish I could spend a day looking through all those books, journals, and pictures

Author — Drea Pineda

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It's so bizarre to think that it would never crossed their minds that we would be watching a documentary about them, seeing their pictures, their wages, their struggles and hard work, so many years after...
And I'm watching this from thousands of miles away...
And I've never even been to the UK...

Author — Quantum

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This doc fails to mention how many servants were pregnant by their employers.

Author — for real

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I think alot of people did it for a warm bed, hot meals, clean smart clothes, and some disposable income.
The same reason alot of people joined the Army in those days

Author — Empire Entertainment

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17 hour days. It’s no wonder people died early. Worked to death and fatigued at all times.

Author — sheralania transylvania

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what in the actual hell is this comment section

Author — saouer

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If you have 34 maids in 32 years... You're a terrible employer. Period. Sometimes the problem is you:)

Author — Dutchy McDutch

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The lad printing in the diary thought he had bad handwriting... look at his exquisite print.

Author — Nicole Shepherd

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It's kinda funny how they looked down on India for having a strict cast system, while having one themselves

Author — Madeline Corcimiglia

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I mean..this is literally going on now in India.

Author — Teaf

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Using religion to control people still continues today.

Author — Tish Bowman

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I work for a national grocery chain. On holidays, where the company funds a thank you dinner for all. When the food is ready and all laid out…on the walkies, the managers are called to eat, supervisors next, workers next, etc. By the time the workers get to eat, there’s barely anything left, scraps really. The overnight crew get nothing or the scraps of scrap if any left. They don’t restock any of the food, first come first served. My point is…the caste system is still in effect! ☹️

Author — Pamela George

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Wow, I can see why huge manor houses with their many passages were novelist's favorite settings for intrigue, ghosts and even murder.

Author — Mary Riley

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Humans are obsessed with Status, Class, Race, Sex etc.

Author — bougnaw

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So interesting how some elements didn't change!  I worked my first job as a housekeeper at a hotel.  We had a similar hallway in the basement as to not be seen by guests when we were getting our lunch or taking out our garbage at the end of the day (also used by banquet servers). Also if you wanted to eat from the buffet you had to get a kitchen staff member to make up the plate for you so you wouldn't be seen by guests. (I'm in no way saying I had it like these people did, just found it interesting to find some things in common).

Author — NailsBy Heather

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The dingy servant basement room isn't too dissimilar to an overpriced studio apartment in the city.

Author — Tea Burn

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It's not like today we are much more than servants: we live in small houses we can barely afford by paying mortgages to rich people, we work for rich people for much less than we deserve.
Those higher up the echelons have better material lives but they only need to lose their job - at the whim of other rich people - to find themselves at the bottom of the stairs again. And the few rich ones, the top 1%, they laugh at us: cogs that we are.

Author — idraote

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Just an observation. Considering these servants were supposed to be uneducated, many of them had extremely beautiful handwriting and were very articulate in their expressions. Especially that it was at a time when there was no such thing as free public education. If anyone could shed some light on this I would be most grateful.

Author — Phyllis Simon

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Don't let's congratulate ourselves too much. From what I can see, most people would bring back child labour if it meant their Amazon purchase could be delivered in even less time. And our homes are full of Chinese made things made by people working in conditions nearly probably as awful as 100 years ago. But that's okay, because it's somewhere else and it's more 'stuff' for us...

Author — squire haggard

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Apart from the Gentry and skilled tradesmen, all jobs back then can be considered a form of economic slavery. That's why workers' unions are so important.

Author — margo day