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The Guild of Professional English Butlers


Maximum Service, Minimum Intrusion

Photos by Charly Kurz / Lookat
Text by Bennett Marcus

The English butler. We see them in the movies, quiet, formal figures gliding silently around mansions, keeping their mastersí lives perfect.

But what is life as a butler really like in 2003?

Today, butlers are in demand, well paid, and in control of their destinies. Butlers these days are trained professionals, as adept at surfing the Internet as they are at selecting the right wines. Running a large house is like running a not-so-small business, and requires skills far beyond setting a proper table. Women are making inroads into this male-dominated field. Long hours and loneliness are offset by high salaries and glittering surroundings.

We visited Kempsford manor in the English countryside, where students were encamped, learning to become proper English butlers. We learned what motivated these people from varied backgrounds to pursue a butlerís career, and their aspirations. Their instructors at the Guild of Professional English Butlers are real butlers, and along with hands-on lessons on polishing silver and serving tea while wearing white gloves, they reveal what itís truly like to be a butler.

The complete text by Bennett Marcus is available on request.

Role-playing at lunch-time. Butler School, Kempsford, Great Britain, March 2003
View Images: Butler