Working for the Rothschilds, memories of Bernard Collis

from Voices of Ealing and Hounslow, edited by Sue McAlpine, Tempus, 2000

I started work in 1919 when I was fourteen. My Grandmother lived in Antrobus Road where the head gardener of the Rothschilds lived and my grandma was saying to him that I was leaving school and had got to find a job somewhere. So he asked if I could have an interview up there.

He walked me all the way to Gunnersbury Park and I had an interview with Mr Reynolds, the bailiff. My first jobs were to clean the boots and shoes belonging to the head gardener and the family, all the sons and daughters.

After that I used to clean the knives, after that I used to chop the wood and take the logs, the coal all in their bins, into the kitchen and be ready for the next day.

I used to go down and collect the milk from the dairy. They had their own herd of cattle, you know. I also used to scrub the stonework, clean the windows, clean the chickens out and collect the eggs.

I got paid 10 shillings (50p) a week.