Butler history Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2018, The Wisdom of Butlers Past

Steven FerryThe Wisdom of Butlers Past

by Steven Ferry


Another duty for the butler and his staff two hundred years ago was the covering of paintings and glass/mirrors during the summer, while the principals were not in residence. The key concern seems to have been not damaging the walls with the covers, for which paper being placed between the cover and wall was the preferred solution. The same was done for the curtains, with paper doubled up and attached to the inner lining of the curtain, to which the covers were then attached.

When it comes to packing and shipping glass or china, the suggestion was to place it in boxes packed with straw, heaviest items at the bottom, with the straw dampened to prevent the objects moving about the box during transit. Thank goodness for bubble wrap and peanuts—can’t imagine what damp (and rough) straw does to china!


Extracted from the 1823 book, The Footman’s Directory and Butler’s Remembrancer, re-published in hardback by Pryor Publications.

You may obtain your discounted copy (with free s&h) by emailing the publisher: Mr. Pryor (


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