Julius Smith Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2020, My Butler Julius

Julius SmithWhy Butlers Wear White Gloves

by Julius Smith

One of the most iconic images of a butler is a figure in a tailcoat wearing a pair of white gloves but how did this come about? Traditionally in Victorian times, only footmen would wear white gloves whilst doing table service. It was deemed their hands where not as clean as the butler’s and also, they would be carrying the hot trays so the gloves would act as protection from the heat. Another reason the butler would not wear gloves at the table was, whilst pouring the wine, the decanter or bottle could be slippery and if not handled well, wine stains could then appear on the cloth of the gloves.

This all changed after the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918, when the upper class felt their butlers should also wear white gloves in the hope that they would not spread the disease whilst being in their presence.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.”