Tea Party: Below Stairs: A Servants Life in Early 20th Century England

February 10, 2013

Leslie Goddard as British domestic servant Margaret Powell.

What was life really like for the servants who worked below stairs in the era of Downton Abbey? Literary dramatist Leslie Goddard takes us "downstairs" to experience life below stairs in the stately homes of early 20th-century England. Goddard portrays British domestic servant Margaret Powell, whose 1968 book Below Stairs was among the inspirations for the popular television series Downton Abbey and directly inspired the 1970s series Upstairs, Downstairs.

Leslie Goddard is currently an exhibit developer at Morton Arboretum. She earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in an interdisciplinary field of study that covered U.S. history, women’s studies, and theater. An award-winning scholar, Goddard also has extensive experience in public programs, which includes lectures at Chicago area museums and historical societies, civic organizations, schools, and retirement homes.
Recorded Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Highland Park Community House.