Saturday Scenes

Thu 17 March 2011

Household Management for Dummies, 1861 edition

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 20:18

On the 12th of March 1836, Isabella Mary Mayson was born at 24 Milk Street, Cheapside, London. At the age of 21, she wrote Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management a guide with 2,751 entries to help middle-class women run their household. It included detailed advice for cooking, entertaining, cleaning, servants and children. Mrs Beeton’s book influenced future references for household management: it was the first to offer recipes with the ingredients listed first, a format still used today.

The guide is available online and many of the recipes are still easy to follow. Some of the other advice is less pertinent but charming nevertheless.
Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management – Chapter 41 – Domestic Servants

2202. Receptions and Evening Parties.—The drawing-rooms being prepared, the card-tables laid out with cards and counters, and such other arrangements as are necessary made for the reception of the company, the rooms should be lighted up as the hour appointed approaches. Attendants in the drawing-room, even more than in the dining-room, should move about actively but noiselessly; no creaking of shoes, which is an abomination; watching the lights from time to time, so as to keep up their brilliancy. But even if the attendant likes a game of cribbage or whist himself, he must not interfere in his master or mistress’s game, nor even seem to take an interest in it. We once knew a lady who had a footman, and both were fond of a game of cribbage,—John in the kitchen, the lady in her drawing-room. The lady was a giver of evening parties, where she frequently enjoyed her favourite amusement. While handing about the tea and toast, John could not always suppress his disgust at her mistakes. “There is more in that hand, ma’am,” he has been known to say; or, “Ma’am, you forgot to count his nob;” in fact, he identified himself with his mistress’s game, and would have lost twenty places rather than witness a miscount. It is not necessary to adopt his example on this point, although John had many qualities a good servant might copy with advantage.

Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management is a treasure because of the insight it offers us into Victorian England, simply because Isabella decided to explain and document the little things that made up her day.

175 years later, we’re doing the same with Saturday Scenes!

On the 12th of March 2011, these photographs were taken and submitted from all over the world:

That’s a record number of photographs for a single Saturday: 35! And aren’t they all wonderful? These are the people who submitted. Go say hello:

Saturday Scenes is a great way to see the world from someone else’s point of view! Taking part is easy:

1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
2. Send it to @SatScenes on Twitter
3. Wait for the webpage to get updated
4. Oooh and aah over all the great submissions from all over the world!

So take a photograph this weekend and send it to @SatScenes!

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