Subject Material

The Butler

Published: 03.05.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017
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What does a butler do in a household? What kind of household do you think a butler works in?

The word "butler" comes from the French word bouteille (bottle) and originally a butler was the servant whose job it was to look after and serve the wine. Gradually, by the 18th century, the butler had become the senior male member of the household staff in a grand household with responsibility for the other servants.

Butlering at Buckingham PalaceButlering at Buckingham PalaceThe number of employees in domestic service decreased sharply from the 1920s. There were still around 30,000 butlers employed in the UK by World War II, but this number had fallen to an estimated 100 by the 1980s. However, according to Charles Macpherson, vice-chairman of the International Guild of Professional Butlers, the demand for butlers has risen since the turn of the century, because the number of millionaires and billionaires has increased. ( Wikipedia - Butler ) There is also an increasing demand for butlers in Asian countries, India, China and the Middle East.

Traditionally, butlers gained experience by working their way up through various servant positions in a household. Today, some major hotels offer training and there are some private butlering schools. Butlers are still mainly male, but a female butler can be preferred in some households. Since 2007, Lindsay Steele has been butlering at Buckingham Palace.

 

Butlering at Buckingham Palace

  1. Watch the video and then answer the questions at the following link, Butlering at Buckingham Palace .
  2. In the video, the reporter mentions "Jeeves". Search for butler, Jeeves and find out who Jeeves was.

 

Discuss

What qualities are required to be a good butler?

 

Presentation

Find out about a famous butler from a novel, TV show or film and make a short presentation of the character.