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on 29 April 2011
I know Kedleston Hall and visit it regularly. I have read several books about the building and its owners, when it was in its heyday, but this book paints a fascinating picture of a great house and a noble family in decline. The author has an intimate knowledge of life at Kedleston during its final years in private ownership and I recommend it to anyone wishing to gain an inside view of life behind the scenes.
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on 24 June 2011
An astonishing view of what things can really be like in stately homes. It makes one wonder how these places really ran; whether other establishments were similar 'below stairs'. There was a nice balance of information about the work, the personalities, and Mr Adams' life.
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on 15 November 2012
This is a straightforward account of the life of Roy Adams, who spent a greater part of his life in service at Kedleston Hall near Derby. Having said that it is a real treat! Post war Britain was a difficult place for the aristocracy, and the majority had to get used to the changes in society; some managed better then others. At Kedleston, althought there were still parties, and famous house guests, the money gradually ran out, and the house was effectively run by two or three people, as opposed to the dozens who would have worked there earlier in the century.
In the early 1960's, Roy Adams arrives at Kedleston as a houseman. The book relates his life there as he becomes involved in the life of the house, and is expected to do just about anything for next to nothing. Many of the stories are really funny, some sad, but always entertaining, and I found the writing, though simple and natural, painted vivid pictures of grandiose decay.
From our perspective, it is perhaps difficult to understand why Roy - and his wife - put up with it all, and this is not really explored, which is perhaps a shame.
Even so, this is a really entertaining book.
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on 6 July 2010
Great book, highly recommended. A great insight to the running of a Stately Home
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on 22 April 2012
As we live very near Kedleston Hall this book had an extra relevance to us, but I think most people would find it an interesting read.The story of a long time butler it is a real insight to the behaviour of the wealthy to their servants and how hard they were expected to work.Hard to put down.
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on 17 April 2012
I really enjoyed this book. Too often, the subject matter of domestic service is simply a re-writing of the roles of various sevants. This is a quite different, being an honest account of what it was like to be a butler in a stately home. A thoroughly good read.
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on 26 January 2016
I was disappointed in this - frankly the author comes over as bitter and hating his work at Kedleston Hall, so this reader can't understand why he spent 25 years of his life there. At the outset he is rejected for the job, but it is not made clear how or why he subsequently gets work there. I didn't find it a particularly pleasant read as the author's chip on the shoulder is always evident. It's clearly not written by a professional - nothing wrong in that - but time and again the feel of the text is downbeat. I just can't understand why he didn't move on if it was all so unbearable. And for those who don't know the stunning building that is Kedleston Hall, some illustrations would have been welcome.
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2015
Fabulous true account of life in one of England's stately homes in relatively recent times. The author gives a very detailed description of many aspects of how life was for him when he entered service to escape life on a council estate. His descriptions of his employers seem simply factual and he did not seem to be particularly embittered, although he was annoyed at the state of his cottage when he and his wife first arrived. It became obvious from the narrative that the employers had been unaware of the facts having left all such matters to the estate manager.
The book also outlines the gradual decline of the big house, which is woven through the story.
it was a very good read indeed.
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on 14 September 2011
I found this an interesting but depressing read. It is quite an insight into how servants were treated in the declining years of the aristocracy. I was often disgusted at the way they treated their staff and what loyalty they expected from them in return for nothing. This is an insightful and uncomfortable read.
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on 28 May 2014
I live near to the Kedleston Estate and wanted to get to know a bit more about life in the lovely house and more about the Scarsdale family. I found the book to be interesting and quiet well written. I would recommend the book if you have the same interest.
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