WEA in Leicestershire

A site for members and volunteers, by volunteers

Recent Forum – 12th May

Those present at the County Forum in Loughborough last Saturday enjoyed two excellent speakers, and had the chance to comment on this new blog.

The secure dock in the old courtroom

Magistrate Ros Marsh talked to us in the Preston Room, Woodgate Chambers, and describe what it was like in the days when she sat as a magistrate there, when it was known as No 1 Court. The accused  were brought up stairs from the cells directly into this secure dock, and literally “sent down” if found guilty. She also demonstrated that we knew rather less than we thought about magistrates and their work; our performances in the quiz Ros set us were hardly impressive!

Nick Marshall looks at life below stairs

After lunch, in Loughborough WEA’s teaching room in Quest House, Woodgate Chambers, re-enactor Nick Marshall fascinated us with his illustrated account of life below stairs in Victorian times. Nick explained that, while just a few employers were enlightened and considerate, most gave little thought to the lives of their servants, and the life for those at the bottom of the sevants’ pecking order was even harder than shown in the dramatisations we see on television. One consolation was that at least their meals in the servants’ hall would be piping hot, unlike those of the gentry upstairs.

My favourite new fact – perfectly matched carriage horses were much prized, as most people know, but this attitude was applied to footmen, too; a pair of identical twin footmen could command a higher wage, and could even be headhunted by other wealthy employers!

Mandy Grocott

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