for writers and readers….

When the Days are SHORT and Nights LONG you need ADVICE from the 1830s BRIGHTON housekeeper

Mrs Finnegan is the Celebrated Authority on affairs of the HEART and HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT in addition to being housekeeper of The Regency Town House.
More FOREIGN MAIL has arrived on her doorstep AND she is humbled by this EXPLOSION in her INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION

Will you accept a question from an admirer in the former colonies? My problem is keeping the pantry in order, especially in periods of unrest. Mine has simply gone to shambles.
An American Fan

I am DELIGHTED to make your acquaintance and you raise an important question, but first are we talking the same language?
The kitchen is where the cooking is done (mine is only a few years old so is the very HEIGHT of modern LIVING).
The larder is the coldest room (slate lined shelves are a VERY good idea) and where the meat, fish and milk are kept.
The scullery is where the washing up is done, vegetables scrubbed of their muck and mud, and SERVANTS’ LAUNDRY.
The pantry is where things are stored. If the household can afford a butler than he will have his own pantry which houses PRECIOUS THINGS like the silver and crystal glass. The cupboards in the housekeeper’s room situated at the front of the house (because she always needs to know who is coming and going) would hold PRECIOUS FOOD such as preserves, tea, coffee and sugar.  Your ordinary come-a-day-go-a-day pantry is home to a collection of all sorts: currants and raisins for instance, nuts and herbs and an ample quantity of flour.

How to organise your pantry? The instruction manuals (and they are several, although you may have to send to New York or London for them) will tell you:

The beauty of a good servant is to have a proper place for every thing that is used in common, that he may know where to lay his hand upon it, when it is wanted

And the COMFORT of a good servant is to make sure that she bends down as little as possible and climb onto a stool as little as possible. This is good advice for every AREA of your life…

I understand though that in America there exists something called a BUTTERY. My formula should work for this too, always supposing that Americans do not have a room DEVOTED entirely to butter.


You are the only person I can tell Mrs Finnegan, as I suffer from low spirits at this time of year. Do you think it odd? I would rather be too cold than too hot, so it’s not the weather I mind.
Despondent from Dalston

Many find the short days and long nights draining. Poets may find inspiration in autumn, but they probably don’t have to light the household fires or draw water from the well while it’s still dark.

My advice is to face the winter sun whenever it appears and keep the shadows behind you.

Shake off a sad mood by stomping through puddles. It is remarkably invigorating as long as you’re wearing a pair of stout boots. (I find it is easier to cope with wet hair than wet feet.)

Use the nights well. The amount of sleep required by most people is ten minutes more than they actually get.

Remember, there will be Christmas.
There will be another spring.
And there will be a day when the sun is too hot…

Yours Respectfully
Mrs Finnegan

Mr Peregrine Hilderbrace – the riding master (retired) at Number 61 – sent this ditty across. Another poet INSPIRED by autumn…

The sum of Summer is cast at last,
And carried to Wintry  season
And the frighten’d leaves are leaving us fast
If they stayed it would be high treeson
The sheep, exposed to the rain and drift,
Are left to all sorts of wethers,
And the ragged young birds must make a shift,
Until they can get new feathers.

Miss Martha declared it charming. For one of the gentry, she has remarkably good manners.
We have resumed our art classes at Number 60. After the scene she made, two weeks ago* I am amazed Madam D’Albert has the cheek to offer her services, amazed but not surprised.
Miss Martha was wonderfully solicitous, but Madam greeted every expression of concern with a curt nod of the head.
We spent a pleasant enough afternoon drawing the maid….

Miss Martha’s sketch
Unaccountably, the girl moved whenever I was drawing…

My day was made even more interesting when I spied the following advert in The Brighton Gazette.
Another “FRENCH” Professor of Dance has arrived in town. I see the COST of entry to the Pier is included in the fee for dance classes.
I wonder if the Pier beats Brunswick Square as an attraction.
I wonder if the D’Alberts know about the new PROFESSOR. I expect they do.
Gossip TRAVELS FAST in Brunswick Square. BOREDOM makes the land flat.

Mrs Finnegan is the creation of Bridget Whelan  and Paul Couchman, The Regency Cook 
* Missed the THRILLING Madam D’Albert episode? Click HERE

Follow @_Mrs_Finnegan on twitter. She writes daily and is VERY EAGER to make new friends of good character and amiable disposition. She is delighted to report that she has now 1428 FOLLOWERS and wonders if any other Brighton housekeeper of the 1830s can make the same boast. She very much doubts it….

2 comments on “When the Days are SHORT and Nights LONG you need ADVICE from the 1830s BRIGHTON housekeeper

  1. beth
    October 13, 2020

    Full of good advice, as always. I shall aspire to get myself a buttery , and to happily jump in puddles, and I know my life will be transformed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on October 13, 2020 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .


%d bloggers like this: