UNITED KINGDOM: Students improving their napkin folding skills, 1950. Mediadrumimages.com / TopFoto/ Retronaut

By Rebecca Drew


INCREDIBLE black and white photographs have served up an insight into what life was like for those training to be a butler in 1950s Britain.

UNITED KINGDOM: A student learning how to become a perfect valet which includes being a gun-loader, 1950. Mediadrumimages.com / TopFoto/ Retronaut

The series of monochrome shots show hopefuls learning how to fold napkins, carve poultry birds at the table and lay out a suit and shoes ready to be worn to standard under the guidance of Mr Samuel Bretson.

UNITED KINGDOM: Grooming the perfect butler. The Butlers march is headed by Mr Bretson who demonstrates the correct way to carry dishes, 1951. Mediadrumimages.com / TopFoto/ Retronaut

Other insightful images show Bretson outlining the rules of dinner service on a blackboard, teaching students the correct etiquette to serve food at the table and demonstrating how to iron the perfect crease into a pair of trousers.

UNITED KINGDOM: Most of the 1950 class are young servants, waitresses or valets who come for evening instruction to improve their knowledge, Samuel Bretson points out the cuts of meat on a lamb carcass for two students. Mediadrumimages.com / TopFoto/ Retronaut

Further crucial skills the servants, waitresses and valets are keen to learn at the school for butlers are how to deliver the important afternoon staple of a tray of tea into a room and how to load a gun.

Samuel Bretson was one of Britain’s best-known butlers.

UNITED KINGDOM: Mr Samuel Bretson spelling out the rules for dinner service on the blackboard, 1950. Mediadrumimages.com / TopFoto/ Retronaut

Most of the class of 1950 were already servants, waitresses and valets who were attending evening classes to improve their knowledge of their trade in the hopes that a Bretson certificate would enable them to get a better job.