Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs

No Going Back

Series 1 - Episode 3 No Going Back



As we reach the final part of Dr Pamela Cox’s informative series, we find that Britain’s domestic servants are kicking against the established order. The First World War changed the social landscape for ever, landowners freed their servants to fight while women who would otherwise have been part of the “servant class” played their part. They took over the jobs of absent men, including difficult and dangerous munitions work, and weren’t prepared simply to slide back into their former servile roles once the war was over.

Cox looks at the measures used by Britain’s ladies to find maids, including trying to lure them with a promise to ditch that hated symbol of deference, the servant’s cap.


Pamela Cox explores how the idea of a servant class came to an end in the 20th century. She reveals why filling male roles in stately homes and factories during the First World War left many female servants reluctant to return to their old lives, and how the rise of semi-detached suburban homes during the 1930s led to major changes in domestic workers' duties. Finally, she charts how women's employment changed in the years following the Second World War, and examines the roles of domestic employees in 21st-century Britain. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Pamela Cox
Executive Producer Emma Hindley
Series Producer Annabel Hobley