Appeal to former historic house staff

DID a relative of yours work as a kitchen maid or an assistant gardener at Audley End House and Gardens, near Saffron Walden in Essex, in the early 1900s?If so, Pippa Smith, education officer for English Heritage in the East of England would like to hear from you.

DID a relative of yours work as a kitchen maid or an assistant gardener at Audley End House and Gardens, near Saffron Walden in Essex, in the early 1900s?

If so, Pippa Smith, education officer for English Heritage in the East of England would like to hear from you.

Using the 1901 census, Ms Smith has picked out some key people that she would like to learn more about and is calling on members of the public to check their family trees. Using details from descendants of these people she hopes to create role-play opportunities for children who visit the home on school trips to learn more about being a servant in the Victorian era.

She said: "Children learn more when they can get involved. Being able to role-play as a servant who helped to run this grand house or as a gardener, who worked hard to keep the food on the table, will allow them to act out some of the jobs the servants would have done back in the 1900s. It will also show them how different their lives are now.


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"Members of the public could have letters, photographs, or diaries that could help bring these people to life - all I have is their name, job at Audley End House and Gardens and their place of birth."

At the time of the census, 1901, Lord Charles Neville Baron Braybrook was owner of the estate. His brother Latimer Neville Braybrook inherited it in 1902.

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Audley End house is one of the most significant Jacobean houses in England today. Amongst others, it has been home to the Earl of Suffolk and Charles II, with many successive owners leaving different stylistic imprints, creating a blend of many generations and taste.

Those English Heritage would like to know more about include:

n Isabella Melton - single, aged 52 and worked as the lady's maid to Lady Florence Braybrook (Lord Braybrook's wife). She was born in Wymondham, Norfolk;

n Mabel Sayers - single, aged 19, scullery maid, born in Yarmouth, Norfolk;

n The Webb family: Henry C Webb, head of land and estate, 38, born in West Wickham, Cambridgeshire; wife, E Mabel Webb, 38, born Linton, Cambridgeshire; and their sons E Marshal Webb, aged seven, and Hugh V C Webb, aged three - both born in Saffron Walden, Essex;

n Esther Hoy - single, 14, nurse to the Dennis family, which had seven children, born in Essex;

n The Vert family: James, head gardener, 47, born in Norley, Cheshire; wife, Susan, 48, born in Yorkshire; their children, Fred, 19, garden clerk; William, 16, garden assistant; Elsie, 15; Frank, 13; Gertie, 11; Nellie, nine, and Susan, three - all born in Audley End.

If you can help, forward your information to Pippa Smith via email: pippa.smith@english-heritage.org.uk or write to her at: English Heritage - East of England Regional Office, 24 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge, CB2 2DU.

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