Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2019, The Wisdom of Butlers Past

Steven FerryThe Wisdom of Butlers Past

by Steven Ferry

Part 24: The Valet’s Position

Several pages on managing the gentleman’s dressing room contain unsurprising information, meaning that the valet’s position has not changed so much over the centuries. One peculiarity is that the butler/valet is advised always to note whether an item of clothing being sent to the laundry is old or new, and to check the laundry when returned from the laundress, particularly when traveling in hotels abroad—as sometimes old items were substituted for new ones.

In this regard, circumstances have improved today, as such switches are not an issue. Where issues do exist with laundry, they are more likely to be lost or ruined items, or a delayed return. Otherwise, our lives are much easier today: No need to haul water or light fires for the principal’s dressing room, for instance, or use arcane and complex procedures to clean clothing when dry cleaning will do the trick!

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 (alan AT

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