The Downton Abbey Butler

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Published on November 1, 2019

The term ‘Butler’ has often been a phrase or service that the mere mortals within the public domain have associated with the likes of Michael Caine in Batman. Or Mr Carson – the  Downton Abbey Butler.  The image of a silver haired mature man, dressed in a sombre suit with white gloves springs to mind.

In actual fact the world has seen a huge increase in the demand for Butlers in the last 10 years. Where the emerging markets are fascinated by this traditional technique, mixed with a modern and cosmopolitan lifestyle that many of the rich and famous lead.

What does a Butler actually do?

So we’ve seen what The Downton Abbey Butler does. And the modern Butlers role has evolved to a large range of skill sets and duties. An ideal Butler will take his or her hand to any task the principal requires. No task is too small or too great. From front of house, welcoming guests (the more traditional approach) to fully planning, designing and executing dinner parties and events, chauffeuring the principal to the airport or shopping, or even fixing the loo(!).

The modern Butler approach is a flexible one. Moulding with the household or the needs of the principal at any given moment. Butlers also have expanded into management, and are often the head of the house. Liaising with the team around them and ensuring that the home receive top notch attention at all moments. Of course it depends on the individual Butler’s approach as to how they want to present their skill sets. All Butlers share the love of service and the need to please and reach utter perfection for their employer.

What makes the best Butler?

At Polo & Tweed we find the perfect Butler for a wide range of clients. We’ve worked with Middle Eastern, Russian, Chinese, European and American clients. All families and indeed cultures have different requirements of their Butlers. Some households like a traditional approach with their Butler being the head of the household, and use the Butler to help organise the hierarchy within the property.

Other, less informal households like the Butler to become part of the family chain, and Butlers are often taken on holiday to help with the children or house sit with the dogs at home! Ultimately the best Butler is someone who can be extremely flexible, and understand discretion. As the saying goes ‘What happens in service, stays in service,’ and this is the number one rule for any male or female Butler, keeping discreet everything they see or are privy to whilst working for the family.

Hang on – did you just write ‘female butler?’

Yes! P&T have seen a sudden growth in this area in the last ten years. In the Middle East we’ve seen a demand for female Butlers as the household environments are often single sex, and it would be deemed inappropriate for a male Butler to serve/work for the female principal. This has resulted in many accomplished and hard working women re-training and wanting to work as Butlers. In fact some of the most highly qualified Butlers on our books are women, we’ve come a long way from the traditional Downton Abbey Butler!

Can anyone become a Butler?

Absolutely not. The Butler is perhaps the most prestigious role in private service. Because of this it can take years and sometimes decades to become a Butler. Training, dedication, hard work are all part of this process. One doesn’t wake up and become a Butler over night, one must learn the skills required to be a Butler. That being said Butler skills can be honed and polished, and at P&T we have a wonderful Butler trainer who trains in private some of the best Butlers in the world to increase their skills and finesse.

At the heart of being a Butler is the love to serve and please. Although at times it can be a glamorous job, the stark reality is that you are often working extremely long hours and have little or no room for your own family, so the role and rewards come with great sacrifices. With great responsibility comes the pressure of providing the best service you can, and with often millions of pounds of fine art and valuable possessions in your care, mistakes are not looked upon lightly. However, if you are the right person and the high pressured, high reward role appeals then perhaps being a Butler is right up your street!

How does P&T find the best Butlers?

Our clients come to Polo & Tweed because we have some of the finest and distinguished Butlers on our books. We understand that no two families are the same, and each principal will require their own twist in their Butler. We take the time to explore what you need and then provide you with some fantastic options.  Word of mouth means that the best Butlers comes to us to find their next long term employment, and we don’t shy away from the challenge! Perhaps you are a Butler looking for work?  Why not register with us or check out our handy guide to writing CVs.  Why not drop us a line today and see how we can help provide your home(s) with the best Butler money can buy.

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