Day School: The Servants Wing

Ref: C2226910

Servants were essential to elite living in the past, but until recently they have been sidelined in the way we have considered great houses. Their presence however was essential and dictated the way that houses were designed. We will trace how servants’ quarters evolved from the accommodation of the great retinues in the sixteenth century to the stratified servants’ halls of the Victorian era. We will consider the spaces they occupied, where and how they did their work and how they were depicted in painting and other visual sources.

Additional information about this course

Day runs from 10.30-4.30 and includes 1 hour lunch break.

Course aim

Servants in considerable numbers were needed to run the great houses of the past. But how were houses planned to allow them to do their work? What rooms were provided? And what insights are we given into their lives?

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise how the presence of servants was reflected in the planning of great houses in England
  • Discuss when and how servants were depicted in the past
  • Reflect on how the role of the servant made elite life possible
  • Trace the evolution of the role of the servant up to 1900

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course information sheet

Day School: The Servants Wing


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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