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How to Fight greying hair and unscrupulous grocers The Wit and Wisdom of Mrs Finnegan, the 1830s housekeeper extraordinaire

The housekeeper has the care of the linen, of the grocery – dried & other fruits, spices, soap, candles and stores of all kinds. In short she is the LADY BOUNTIFUL and the active representation of the House. I hope that these morsels of advice will help see you through these trying times.


Be VERY CAREFUL when putting chairs against a wall. Do not PUSH it toward the wall in a hurry or worse still kick it towards its destination, thinking both the chair and wall do not MERIT special treatment. Instead always make sure that you hand is behind the chair so it glides into place. For want of this TRIFLING ATTENTION great pieces are frequently knocked out of the plaster and the backs of chairs leave marks on the wall.


There can few sights more gratifying that a row of copper pans in a kitchen and there are few worse jobs than cleaning them as any kitchen maid will tell you. Here is my mix for bringing them to A GOOD SHINE, but it still requires much hard work. It has to be applied by hand and cannot be put on by RAGS.
Mix silver sand with white vinegar, salt and a little flour. The result is good for copper but is hard on hands (see below). To be applied after EVERY USE

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay


Just as the house should not be neglected, you should be careful of your own appearance.
For GREYING hair
Extract all the goodness out of the herb rosemary by boiling it in water until the liquid is reduced and what you have left is a strong concentration. Let it grow cold and use it to rinse after washing with soap. It is only a temporary solution but may have a good effect – in candlelight and with your cap pulled forward.
Any number of underlying causes may be responsible, but plenty of pepper on your dinner encourages re-growth.
This surely is the bane of all servants, the poor kitchen maid most of all. A very good cream can be made from 1 part melted beeswax, 1 part apricot kernel oil and 2 parts almond oil. Mix together and heat gently. Store in pots away from the larder.


What Goes Around Comes Around
A housekeeper must always be wary of unscrupulous tradesmen. I had dealings with a grocer who had the face of a church warden & the heart of a spider. We had WORDS, many were the words we had, and I made good my threat of going elsewhere for provisions. Look what has recently appeared in The Brighton Gazette. I suspect the scoundrel did not leave his business, he fled from it – chased by an army of angry housekeepers.


For the perfect cheer-you-up drink BROWN BETTY never fails
Dissolve brown sugar in one pint of hot water. Add a slice of lemon, cloves, cinnamon, brandy & a quart of strong ale. Heat it up, float a toast on top, grate nutmeg and ginger root on the toast. Serve hot. It evens works after an an altercation with a grocer.

Mrs Finnegan is housekeeper at The Regency Town House  in the delightful coastal town of Brighton and Hove and is available for advice on household management and affairs of the heart.

You can join her at the TWITTER correspondence circle and she esteems the acquaintance of interested parties. @_Mrs_Finnegan

This is a regular feature created and written with Paul Couchman, The Regency Cook

5 comments on “How to Fight greying hair and unscrupulous grocers The Wit and Wisdom of Mrs Finnegan, the 1830s housekeeper extraordinaire

  1. beth
    April 24, 2020

    ah, she is a brilliant one

  2. Rae Reads
    April 25, 2020


    • bridget whelan
      April 25, 2020

      Mrs Finnegan would be most gratified by that response, she might even kick up her heels and dance around the drawing room!

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2020 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , , , , .


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