History of butler service


I came across this piece of content written by www.butlersbingo.com about BUTLERS HISTORY OF SERVICE from 1811 to 1945 and I wondered, what could be more quintessentially British than having a butler to take care of your every need – serve tea into pretty bone-china tableware, draw you a rose-scented bath, dress you in a dinner suit or evening gown?

I think butler service is all about British quality and tradition, sprinkled with modern pampering and luxury.

The word “butler” comes from the Old French bouteleur (cup bearer), from bouteille (bottle), and ultimately from Latin. The role of the butler, for centuries, has been that of the chief steward of a household, the attendant entrusted with the care and serving of wine and other bottled beverages which in ancient times might have represented a considerable portion of the household’s assets.

In Britain, the butler was originally a middle-ranking member of the staff of a grand household.The fact that butlers used to serve their employers during long periods of time –in many cases, the butler’s whole life- put them in an unparalleled position: they got to know their employers like no one else did, which allowed them to anticipate their needs, ensuring that those needs were satisfied just as they had been requested, guaranteeing the quality of the service provided and therefore, the employers full satisfaction.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the butler gradually became the senior, usually male, member of a household’s staff in the very grandest households.

However, there was sometimes a steward who ran the outside estate and financial affairs, rather than just the household, and who was senior to the butler in social status into the 19th century. Butlers used to always be attired in a special uniform, distinct from the livery of junior servants, but today a butler is more likely to wear a business suit or business casual clothing and appear in uniform only on special occasions.

As the hotel industry evolved, hotels not only adopted infrastructures never before imagined but also developed and perfected the services available to their guests in order to make them feel more comfortable and foster differentiation within the industry.

Today’s butler service is a fine balance of reserved British tradition mixed with the modern desire to be pampered in style.

I strongly recommend to watch the movie The Butler (2013).

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