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Groom 3

While we’re on the subject of personal servants, let’s look at the groom. Some grooms just worked in the stables under the head groom others were assigned to a mistress, master, or one of their children, and became a personal groom. Grooms tended to be long term and highly trusted servants. Frequently he would be the one to teach the master or mistress as a child to ride. They took care of the horses and tack. If the groom was a personal groom, that groom was solely responsible for the care of the master or mistress’s personal horses. That would include riding hacks and pairs or teams as well as all their saddles and tack.

A groom accompanied a lady when she rode in Town and possibly in the country. He would also have a place in a sporting carriage so that if the master or mistress left the carriage for any reason, he’d take charge of the horses and vehicle. A groom was also used to carry messages when one did not wish to use a footman.

Grooms didn’t wear livery.

Groom 1

 

Groom 2

 

 

 

 

 

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A lady’s maid for a must for any lady who wished to appear well turned out. She was highly trained, and she answered to no one but her mistress (unless her mistress was a daughter of the house or a ward). Gowns were very hard, if impossible, to get in and out of if one didn’t have a maid. For those who could not afford one, a regular housemaid would suffice. The problem then would be care of garments. As did valets, a lady’s maid (or dresser) was responsible for keeping the gowns, shoes, and other garments clean and in good condition. A laundress pretty much just boiled linens. They did not clean silks etc. Speaking of linens, the lady’s maid was also responsible to replacing chemises and other intimate items. Although the lady would most likely select her own stocking. She would inform her mistress when new gloves, slippers, and shoes were needed. She’d take half-boots and riding boots to be repaired.

In addition to clothing, a lady’s maid also looked after a lady’s jewelry, supervised the cleaning of her room (she did not clean it herself nor did she lay the fire when needed) and she was available several times a day and into the early morning hours for clothing changes or for anything else the lady wanted her to attend to. In my opinion, any idea that a lady would be able to undress herself after a ball or other evening event is ludicrous. She trimmed the lady’s hair and styled it, manicured her nails, assisted with her bath and hair washing, and might even advise as to the style, jewels, gowns, etc. a lady wore.

When traveling, the lady’s maid would frequently go ahead and prepare her mistress’s chamber in an inn or wherever she was staying. Thus increasing her lady’s reputation or standing.

Considering all their tasks, I find it improbably that a lady’s maid would actually accompany her mistress on walks. I suspect that if a maid did accompany the lady it would likely have been a regular maid. Prudent parents would probably have a footman accompany a lady. That said, I could be wrong. If anyone has read any accounts of who exactly accompanied a lady on walks in Town, I’d love the sources.

Aside from being one of the highest paid servants, and having the status of senior staff, one of the benefits of being a lady’s maid was that she received her mistress’s cast off garments and was able to augment her income by selling them.

Lady's Maid

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Valet

A valet was essential to any gentleman who could afford one. Not only did he help dress a gentleman, but he attended to his clothing. In other words, he cleaned the fabrics (wools, superfines, Bath coating, silks, and leather) that made up a gentleman’s wardrobe. Additionally, a valet cleaned and polished boots, and shoes. Many valets were known for the superior shine on boots.

He supervised the laundry’s cleaning of shirts and cravats, and replenishment of those articles. He supervised the maids when they cleaned a gentleman’s chambers. And he was responsible for keeping the jewelry and fobs clean and in good repair. He would also trim the gentleman’s hair, shave him (if required), and manicure his nails.

When traveling, the valet would ride ahead to inspect inn rooms and ensure they were made up properly. If a gentleman was visiting friends, he’d arrive before the gentleman and make sure all his kit was unpacked and the room set up the way he liked it.

A valet would also perform personal tasks, such as errands of a personal nature, for a gentleman.

Valets worked directly for the gentleman he served and did not take orders from a butler (for example). The were on call at all hours unless specifically given the time off.

A valet had a room near or attached to the gentleman’s dressing room. If there was only a small room in that area, he’d have a larger separate bedchamber near his master’s chambers.

Valets would sometimes gain superior reputations, and it wasn’t unusual for other gentlemen to attempt to hire such a valet away.

Valets

 

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This is from a combination of questions I received from you about how ladies and their hair.

Although the style of the time was “natural” that has to be put into context. It really meant not wearing wigs and power in their hair. Ladies who were not blessed with an abundance of thick easily styled hair could use hair pieces and pads.

Hair pieces could be in the form of ringlets, braids, or a piece large enough to be added to the hair and styled in. These hair pieces were made of real human hair. Pads were used to give the hair a puffier look. Although we don’t see them much, there were short hair styles and styles that did not require curls.

To achieve curls, one used a hair curler heated in a fire place, or one could use paper wrapped around the hair and pinned in place.

A lady’s maid styled the lady’s hair. She could also trim and cut hair. I read once in a Georgette Heyer book that there were male hair stylists that would cut hair to the latest style, but I can’t find anything to support that. Heyer was almost always right, but she did put falsities in her books because she was being plagiarized and those occasional false things would help prove that she was.

Regency Hair style 1Regency Hair style 2Regency Hair style 3

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Regency Trivia – 1830’s Corded Petticoat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE4M6D2F6MY

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Regency Trivia – The 1830’s Skirt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmZVDLE_Ns0&t=21s

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It is absolutely amazing how much fabric goes into these sleeves. Also note that they are worn with puffers.
1830s puffers
 
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