Victorian role play

90mins, onsite, KS2

Find out all about homes in the past in Brighton’s most famous Victorian manor house.

It’s 1897 and Butler Benjamin Beesley is recruiting new servants. Submit your letter of application and come to the Manor as his staff put you to task in the house with daily duties. Make the bed, polish the silver, beat the rugs and much more. Find out what life was really like for Victorian servants in a grand house.

Will you get the job?

Photograph of the servants kitchen in Preston Manor

Preparation for a trip back in time

Please do all come dressed as Victorian servants – adults included.

You can all give yourselves Victorian names as well.

You will all be in role and treated as Victorians from the moment you enter the house.

The children are invited to wite letters of application in the voice of their Victorian child character for the position of footman, oddman, housemaid or kitchen maid. Please address to Mr Beesley.

The letters can be handed to us upon arrival.

  • Footman – responsible for answering the door, laying the table and cleaning the silver.
  • Kitchenmaid – assists Cook to prepare meat and vegetables, cleans the range and scrubs tables.
  • Fourth Maid – responsible for cleaning family and servants’ rooms, laying fires and making beds.
  • Oddman – chops wood, brings in coal, does odd jobs, and serves the servants’ dinner


Children will grate / grind

Children will weigh

  • Mustard seeds
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried cloves
  • Nutmeg
    • Wheat free macaroni
    • Green lentils
Kept in kilner jars and used by children

Our Learning Assistant will use in a demonstration

  • Sea salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Chilli powder
  • Rice
  • Wheat free flour
  • Bouquet garni
    • Lemon juice
    • Bicarbonate of soda


Aims of the Session

  1. To enjoy your time with us
  2. To bring the past to life
  3. To take part in some of the daily tasks of the servants of the Manor
  4. To find out more about how people lived and worked in the past

Curriculum Links

KS2: Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality, a local history study, a significant turning point in British history

More Information

This session works well as a complement with Meet the Booths at the Booth Museum of Natural History and Victorian Bygones at Hove Museum.