Lauren Butler


Thesis Title: A Community of Masters and Servants? Chatsworth, 1811-1914
Funded by: AHRC Collaborative Studentship
Start Year: 2015




Primary: Dr Jane Hodson (School of English) | Dr Julia Moses (Department of History)


Research topic

At Chatsworth House, the nineteenth century saw the building of the North Wing, the relocation of the village of Edensor which provided (and continues to provide) housing for many of the staff on the estate, and significant alterations to the gardens under Joseph Paxton. This was also the era that saw the rise of numerous Master and Servant Acts, which revolutionised employment relations in the UK and across the British Empire. By the end of the century, a new language and understanding of work had evolved, as ‘masters’ became ‘employers’ and ‘servants’ became ‘employees’. This thesis will examine Chatsworth as an optic into this transformation, challenging the assumption that servants in ducal households were entirely unrepresentative of the majority servant population based in middle-class households. It suggests that the case of Edensor, as well as other changes that occurred under the 6th and 7th Dukes of Devonshire, epitomise the growing complexity of relationships between workers and employers, masters and servants, in Britain during the nineteenth century.


Academic background

  • B.A. (Hons.) History with a Year Abroad, First Class, University of Leicester
  • M.A. Museum Studies, Distinction, University of Leicester


Other work

  • Curatorial intern: The Geffrye Museum, 2015
  • Schools and Young People Volunteer: The National Gas Museum, 2014