Newsletter Steven Ferry

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

Steven Ferry

The Wisdom from Butlers Past

Part 10

by Steven Ferry

Based upon the refusal by some employers to provide suitable work clothes for dirty chores, and insisting that staff have just one suit for all duties—and then firing them if they turned up dirty to their other work—the author counsels that butlers pick their employers carefully so as to avoid such injustices and indignities. Today, we also vet our employers, but over matters of expected duties, remuneration, and more than anything, making sure there is “chemistry” with the employer and he or she is not a micromanager nor employer from hell, etc.—how low the expectations were of the staff two centuries ago!

“Before going to a new place, therefore, be very particular in stating what you may require, and understanding what you are to have, as no servant ought to take a situation without ascertaining, as nearly as possible, that it is likely to suit him and he to suit it; otherwise he only involves a lady or gentleman in unnecessary trouble or expense, and risks injuring his own character, by appearing to run about from one place to another.”

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 (

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.”