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Using all the evidence you have, explain the different experiences of people who lived at Newstead in 1871

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Introduction

July 1999 GCSE History Coursework PART ONE Using all the evidence you have, explain the different experiences of people who lived at Newstead in 1871 You should include 1. Specific reference to source evidence used in class 2. Specific evidence from the site visit that supports or contradicts the source evidence 3. Discussion of the relative merits of the evidence My analysis of Newstead Abbey is based on a source booklet entitled 'Victorian Newstead Hands on History' and my own visit to the site. I intend to support my analysis through the use of direct quotes from the source booklet in both parts of the assignment. In 1871, Newstead Abbey was owned by the Webb family. The Victorian country house was divided into two main parts: 'above stairs' and 'below stairs'. The Webb family occupied the above stairs and the servants occupied the below stairs. The source booklet describes the experiences of the people who lived at Newstead in 1871. The above stairs was also separated into two. The Southeast wing attic was used as a nursery for children and Mr and Mrs Webb occupied the rest. It was very rare that children saw their parents in upper class Victorian households and this was true for the Webbs. ...read more.

Middle

The least important servant - the housemaid - would have been known by her first name and the servant above her - the parlour maid - would have been known by surname. The cook and housekeeper would have been known as "Mrs" even if they weren't married. Most servants came from poor backgrounds and were often uneducated. Nevertheless domestic service was considered to be a respectable job for working class people. Servants came from all over Britain and parts of Europe to work at Newstead e.g. the Young Ladies Maid, Louise Somin.ier, who was from France and the Second Kitchen Maid, Isabelle Clarke, who was from Scotland. The only other real option that an uneducated person had as a career was in the mills, which due to industrialisation were booming. Unfortunately this type of work was dangerous, had low wages and long hours. Servants still had to work very long hours, "six o'clock in the morning and going on until late at night" though and they didn't have it easy with "little spare time...few holidays and often little privacy." The servants wouldn't have liked their privacy being invaded, such as when "employers would...open letters addressed to their staff." A servants work was made difficult by "few labour saving devices." ...read more.

Conclusion

Usually servants were dismissed if they were getting married. In this assignment I have used two types of evidence; primary and secondary sources. The 'Victorian Newstead Hands on History' resource pack is a secondary source document although it has within it primary source material. My visit to Newstead Abbey is itself a source of primary evidence, which I can contrast and compare with the resource pack 'Victorian Newstead Hands on History'. Both sets of evidence are very useful in coming to an understanding of the experience of people who lived at Newstead in 1871. It is important however to understand that the sources of evidence that I have used have both strengths and weaknesses. For instance, my visit has its advantages because it makes the secondary source evidence real. The disadvantage is that over the last 128 years changes may have been made. This is explained in the second part of my assignment. The resource pack's weakness is that you cannot see the house when you are reading about it. Secondary evidence is more reliable when supported by access to primary material. The strength of the resource pack is that it is very detailed. This was very apparent to me when I made my visit to Newstead Abbey. It was then that the information in the resource pack came to life. ...read more.

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