This Friday visitors to Ickworth House, a National Trust property in Suffolk, will be transported back in time to 1935. The basement of the great house will become a hive of activity as the Living History servants celebrate Easter. Cooks will be creating traditional Easter dishes in the kitchens and the younger servants have the annual Easter dance to prepare for. Each Living History day revolves around a storyline for the actors to follow and as readers of this blog I thought I would share this with you. If you come and visit Ickworth this Friday you will then be able to follow more closely the gossip and conversations of the Living History servants.
Theme for 18th April: Easter
Weather: Mild and sunny.
Easter is late this year and Spring is well under way. There are lambs in the fields, the sun is starting to warm up, and the front lawn is covered in an array of colourful little flowers.
Although Easter was not as commercial as it is today, it was still celebrated in the 1930s. Lady Bristol provided a special service downstairs for the female servants, much to the younger housemaids’ dismay, and the kitchen staff prepared special Easter dishes.
All servants might discuss how they celebrate Easter – my Grandma told me how her family used to collect hen’s eggs in the morning and paint the shells in their own individual designs. Her mother would then serve the eggs to them for breakfast (a real treat).
Some snippets from oral histories provided by people who worked at Ickworth House in the 1930s:
Lady Bristol’s Morning Prayers, as described by a kitchen maid:
‘…cook and the housekeeper, six housemaids and us three in the kitchen we all had to go to prayers…in the housekeeper’s room…We first of all had to stand in the hall for her to come in and she come down every morning and she went and sat down at the end of the table [and] Lady Bristol used to read out the Bible as we all sat there. And I was looking more at…er…examining…thinking about her hair, and things like that more than what she was reading!’
England was enjoying a lovely warm spring – but The Times reported on the 18th how New York was still caked under a layer of thick snow!