Stately home staff lived twice as long as other Victorian workers

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Records of staff at a Jacobean mansion in Essex in the late 19th century have disclosed that many carried on working long after most of their social class would have died.

One lodge keeper was still manning the entrance gates to Audley End at the age of 71, while a housekeeper who was doing the rounds into her sixties survived until she was 81.

The average life expectancy in England and Wales was just 41 for men and 44 for women at the time, and was even less for those who toiled in mills and factories.

Researchers believe the higher quality food and standard of accommodation on offer to staff at stately homes helped them stay healthy. They also discovered that wages in stately homes were surprisingly lucrative, with one cook earning the equivalent of £40,000 a year.

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