The Lady’s Maid was one of the most important servants in the household, at least as far as the Lady herself was concerned! It seems that some ladies were incapable of dressing or undressing themselves without help – but that might be a rather unfair comment given the complicated nature of some of the gowns.
How lovely it must have been to be brought a cup of tea in the morning, then had your bath run for you whilst your freshly pressed clothes were laid out ready for you to be helped into before your hair was dressed to perfection. What delicious comfort it would have been to know that when you came home after a long night out, the fire would be blazing in your bedroom and your maid would be waiting to make your passage into bed a swift and enjoyable one, all the while knowing that any gossip that you shared would be treated with the utmost discretion.
The Lady’s Maid had to be a skilled seamstress, not only making new dresses of every description but also repairing and caring for old ones and she also had to be a pretty good hairdresser and be willing and able to clean the bedroom and set it fair several times a day.
Meals were taking in the Servants Hall, but the rest of the time the Lady’s Maid could expect to be summoned to help her mistress at any time of day.
A good Mistress would have made life pleasant enough for her servant, but an ill tempered one was a different matter altogether and when looking through census records it is sometimes easy for one to spot which households have a high turnover of servants, and which retain loyal staff for many years.