1880s Service Wing

Explore the world below stairs at Audley End - a huge complex of rooms and staff needed to keep the upstairs world running smoothly. Meet the staff, take in the wall displays and films, and taste food from the Victorian era.

Mrs Crocombe and four visitors in the kitchens at Audley End

Service Wing in Action

See the service wing at work during event days and other weekends between May and September. Watch Mrs Crocombe the cook, and her kitchen servants preparing seasonal treats using traditional methods, and the other servants going about their daily chores. Explore the array of rooms that were needed for the smooth running of the service wing:

  • Kitchen: Feel the heat of the open wood fire and see an array of Victorian kitchen utensils used to create sophisticated banquets for the Braybrooke family and their guests. 
  • Scullery: a room for getting your hands dirty where the de-scaling of fish, plucking of feathers and washing of greasy pans took place. 
  • Wet and dry laundry: Not a washing machine in sight. See the wet laundry with its row of original sinks used throughout the 1880s and the complicated pulley systems in the dry laundry, used to hang enough linen to clothe a small army. 
  • Dairy: Experience the rigorous method by which butter was churned on a daily basis as part of a backbreaking morning routine. 
  • Dry larder: In one Christmas alone, the Braybrooke family and their guests consumed a huge amount of food including 541lb of meat and 34 rabbits - most of which would have been stored in this busy larder.
  • Game larder: See our restored game larder, with hundreds of original hooks used to hang pheasants, partridges, rabbits and more - trophies from Lord Braybrooke's hunting excursions.

Mrs Crocombe's Cookbook

Avis Crocombe was the cook at Audley End in the 1880s and we are fortunate to have her original notebook of recipes.

Our expert on historic cookery has taken these original recipes and made sure that all the ingredients are readily available today. Why not try and recreate a taste of Audley End in Victorian times?

Take a look at the original recipe book written by Avis Crocombe, Audley End's resident cook, and have a go at recreating a taste of Victorian England.

To be able to browse Avis Crocombe's Cookbook you will need Microsoft Silverlight. If you are unable to use Microsoft Silverlight, an accessible version is available.

Avis Crocombe's Cookbook

How to live like a Victorian

Victorian life was notoriously regimented, especially by today's standards. A closer glance, however, reveals an attitude that celebrates hard work as the key to an honest living.

Despite their apparent restrictions, it seems many Victorian values are just as relevant now as they were then.


See more things to see and do at Audley End House and Gardens. Plan your visit today.

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