Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, April 2020, Butlers In the Media

Steven FerryButlers in the Media

by Steven Ferry

The New York Times carried this photo recently, which was taken some time in the 1980s. Mr. Ivor Spencer, second from the left, front row, had an amusing drill for teaching proper carriage or bearing—the way a person stands or moves. This is vintage Sir Spencer (he was knighted by the Queen of England in later years), in that no self-respecting butler would be caught dead with a glass on his head; but if you wanted to teach students quickly how to walk upright and without a distracting or ungraceful gait, then a glass on top of the head certainly did the trick. Through this and many other lessons, and certainly with experience gained once placed, he brought about those modern butlers who now are retiring themselves or teaching others. Perhaps not with glasses on their heads—they all have their own style of teaching—but they in turn have  carried the torch and helped Sir Spencer keep the profession in touch with and relevant to its employers while preserving the essence of butling.

The only other mention of butlers in the media harks back to an incident even further back in time—1960, when poster-child Hollywood couple Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner broke up after Natalie caught her husband in flagrante delicto (caught red-handed), described in this case as “intertwined” with David Cavendish, their live-in English butler. Moral of the story: Please refrain from sleeping with anyone one is serving—the consequences invariably make the minutes of pleasure pale by comparison with the years of ensuing pain!

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.