Private Life of a Country House
Date of publication: May 2011
Publisher: The History Press
In this vivid memoir Lesley Lewis gives a lucid account of how family life was lived in an English country house between the wars. By concentrating on social and domestic details, on everyday events and on objects, she offers a rare insight into the now remote world of professional families, such as the Lawrences, and their households during the period.
The author remembers her house – Pilgrims’ Hall in Essex – with exceptional clarity and affection. The elaborate daily rhythm of the household, and the devoted skill of the servants who ran it, are faithfully brought back to life. All her recollections are set in the context of the house itself. She carefully recalls each of the main rooms, and describes the precious and ordinary objects they contained. These strong memories are well illustrated by drawings and photographs. The result is an intriguing and original glimpse into the recent English past, and the routines and traditions of a lost way of life.