Dimity's Reviews > Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"

Below Stairs by Margaret Powell
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's review
May 03, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012, history, lighter-side, lol, memoirs-biographies, read-women-nonfiction, reviewed
Read from March 12 to 16, 2012

I loved this hilarious memoir. I’m a “Downton Abbey” convert and Margaret Powell’s experiences are evident as a central influence in the show. I enjoyed that it was written later in her life; I think some humor is purely thanks to her musings made explicit by the cultural liberation of the 1960s that would have been otherwise corseted by the Victorians’ waning influence. I know there are other primary sources about household servants’ daily lives as the aristocracy declined but I’m not sure Powell’s wit and insights can be matched by another account. This book is a simple delight to read and gave me some clear background about my favorite characters’ downstairs lives at Downton.

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