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Preview: Secrets of the Manor House

From director Susannah Ward come Secrets of the Manor House – a look into the world of the British Manor House and the people, including both aristocrats and the servants that lived in them.

Dunham Massey House

Dunham Massey House

The British Manor House is an institution that has fueled the imaginations of Hollywood alike creating popular costume dramas like Downton Abbey. Secrets of the Manor House transports viewers into the world of the “thoroughbred” elite and their “secret army” of 1.5 million servants across Britain by 1912.

The programme takes a look at how King Edward VII, the “playboy king”, set the standard for his life of indulgence in the heyday of the manor house. Despite the large gap between the rich and the poor, legendary parties – often costume balls – were held with no expense spared for the upwards of 700 guests in attendance.

A closer insight is taken of Dunham Massey House, Petworth House and Manderston House with its gold and silver woven curtains valued at $1.5 Million USD in today’s currency.

King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra- known for their opulent lifestyle

King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra – known for their opulent lifestyle

The Earls and Dukes of the manor homes received their titles from the Monarch, who rewarded men with the titles of 30 Dukes, then many more Earls and under them Barons.

With their titles also came political power – a seat at the House of Lords which gave them the power to veto any legislation.

Like the hierarchy of those above stairs, those who kept the house running went with their hierarchy. The housekeeper and butler were on the top followed by the lady’s maids and valets, under them were house maids and finally kitchen and scullery maids.

Secrets of the Manor House also examines how the ultra-rich American heiresses, intrigued by the British titles and way of life, worked their way into high society at the beginning of the 20th Century with their “new” money and married men with titles, rescuing the failing estates hit by hard times of the falling British Empire.

Secrets of the Manor House re-airs from its orginal 2012 premiere on 16th July at 03:00 pm on KCTS 9 HD Seattle/Yakima or KYVE 47 Yakima.

Photo Credit: highlights6 via Flickr & Mpls55408 via Flickr

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