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Climbing the Stairs [Paperback]

Margaret Powell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Dec 1971

From the grand houses of Brighton to imposing London mansions, life as a kitchen maid could be exhausting and demoralising. It’s not just being at the beck and call of the people upstairs, when even the children of the family can treat you like dirt, but having to deal with temperamental cooks, starchy butlers and chauffeurs with a roving eye. Marriage is the only escape, but with one evening off a week Margaret has no time to lose. Between Perce the bus conductor (who brings his mother on dates) and Mr Hailsham the fishmonger (who looks – and smells – a bit like his wares), her initial prospects are hardly the stuff of dreams. But then she meets Albert; a butcher boy-turned-milkman. Could he be the perfect husband? And can she make the perfect wife when, as she soon discovers, years spent serving others don't prepare you for managing your own life? Soon Margaret begins to wonder – how can someone like her ever improve their station?

Told with her trademark wit and warmth, Climbing the Stairs is a unique, sharp-eyed tale of a time when the idea of masters and servants began to lose its sway, and of a remarkable woman who grasped the opportunities of this brave new world with both hands.

'Margaret Powell was the first person outside my family to introduce me to that world, so near and yet seemingly so far away, where servants and their employers would live their vividly different lives under one roof. Her memories, funny and poignant, angry and charming, haunted me until, many years later, I made my own attempts to capture those people for the camera. I certainly owe her a great debt' Julian Fellowes

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; New edition edition (3 Dec 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330028677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330028677
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 726,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

`The book is written in such an honest and open-hearted way that I got the distinct impression Margaret was talking directly to me. It proved a delightful trip down memory lane.' --Hull Daily Mail John Weller --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Margaret Powell was born in 1907 in Hove, and left school at the age of 13 to start working. At 14, she got a job in a hotel laundry room, and a year later went into service as a kitchen maid, eventually progressing to the position of cook, before marrying a milkman called Albert. In 1968 the first volume of her memoirs, Below Stairs, was published to instant success and turned her into a celebrity. She followed this up with Climbing the Stairs, The Treasure Upstairs and The Margaret Powell Cookery Book. She died in 1984. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not as good as her first book 1 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i loved the first book in this series and was expecting more of the same in this book - i was really disapointed - havng left us as she got married having given up service this book has her backtracking her life back to service - it felt like she was trying to find something to say out of her life..and it didnt hang together at all..some of the stories were part told in her first book...and ow dear there is plently of margarets opinions..i think that was the biggest put of as she ranted on and on...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights 6 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey so I was sold on the idea of finding out about life in service from someone who's been there. I read the first instalment and quite enjoyed it so thought I'd enjoy this one.

While it does contain some interesting sociological insights, it wasn't the book I was hoping for. In among the stories of the author's life there is just a bit too much of her giving her views on everything under the sun, from marriage to O levels. I was quite glad when I reached the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ADDICTIVE 29 Jun 2011
By BUSYMUM
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK.MARGARET POWELL IS QUITE A DAME.
HER STORY OF RISING FROM BEING A SCULLERY MAID TO THE COOK IS FASCINATING.
HER DESCRIPTIONS ARE SO VIVID YOU CAN PICTURE HER STORY SCENE BY SCENE.
ALSO A FAB INSIGHT TO HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVED IN 20-30S.DON'T WANT TO SAY TOO MUCH
AND RUIN THE BOOK FOR YOU.
IF YOU HAVE A LOVE OF THE 20S UP THEN THIS IS FOR YOU.
BEWARE ADDICTIVE -YOU'LL NEVER HAVE THE TEA ON THE TABLE ON TIME.
C x
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish 21 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
not well written not flowing read and seemed to be very self centered I know its biographical but it just did not do it for me
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars CLIMBING THE STAIRS 15 May 2013
By ASSYCAT
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I PURCHASED THE BOOKS FOR A FRIEND WHO WAS IN SERVICE IN DAYS GONE BY, AND SHE SAID IT WAS NOT VERY GOOD.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Look out for all of Margarets books - each one is a gem. They are all going to be re-issued at some point ---- the first 'below stairs' has already had much interest since the popularity of Upstairs downstairs - and downton. Her account of life below stairs is so well written, a truly wonderful read. Climbing the stairs is the second of her auto biographies and truly quite excellent. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 10 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got as a gift for my Mum and she really loves this . it is very true to life she says.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the days of Service. 5 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very funny book telling the story of life from the downstairs. Dated, but a good summary of service life
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable sequel
excellent follow-up to Below Stairs continuing the good insight into life in days gone by..several of my friends have borrowed it.
Published 5 months ago by sheila kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
really enjoyed this book looking forward to reading others by Margaret Powell I enjoy this type of book easy read
Published 6 months ago by Janice Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read
Very forthright and unsentimental view of , this very funny and intelligent woman ,a wonderful insight into the a world of what could be, hard and demanding,but a completely honest... Read more
Published 6 months ago by primula
1.0 out of 5 stars Book smells of mildew
I cannot read this book because of the strong odor of mildew and mold. I have COPD and the smell will trigger a breathing attack. Read more
Published 6 months ago by DebraJ
4.0 out of 5 stars book
Use Amazon on a regular basis and have always been happy with the service. I will continue to use them in the future
Published 8 months ago by Angie Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase
Very happy with this item. I purchased as a gift for my wife. Item arrived in excellent consition and well within the expected delivery time frame. First rate result.
Published 10 months ago by Allan Osborn
5.0 out of 5 stars Climbing the Stairs, Margaret Powell
This is a smashing book. I once saw Margaret Powell interviewed on television and I took to her immediately. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Hazel Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Climbing the Stairs
This was bought as a present and seems to have been well received by the recipient.

I believe she would recommend it.
Published 13 months ago by Hunmanby Blade
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It brings out the way things once were - we could thankfully never go back. They were very hard times
Published 15 months ago by Mary
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