Margaret Powell was born in 1907 in Hove, an English coastal town.
It was a hard life for a young girl:
Kitchen maid's duties - rise at five-thirty, come downstairs, clean the flues, light the fire, blacklead the grate with a hard lump of blacklead [graphite] which before you went to bed at night you had to put into a saucer with water and leave soaking before it would assume any kind of paste. Clean the steel fender. Clean the brass on the front door, scrub the steps, clean the boots and shoes, and lay the servant's breakfast. And all this done by eight o'clock.
She also mentioned she had to take out all the shoe laces and iron them! In most houses she had to cook on a kitchen range which had to be lit each morning - there was no gas stove. The bedroom she shared with another servant she described as tropical in the summer and freezing in the winter. The wash jugs formed ice overnight and they had to break it in order to wash.
Article from the Daily Mail about the memoirs gives a good overview of the book here
Ms. Powell speaks often of the unfairness of the vast difference in wealth between those upstairs and downstairs. The servants were required to buy their own uniforms on a meager salary and their rooms and furniture was sparse. Even cast off clothes were sent to "charity" rather than giving them to the people below stairs and the gentry prided themselves in being on boards of these charities, although they rarely treated their servants with the same kindness.
I don't know if it's much different today. Most corporations seem to treat employees as a necessary evil and while the managing executives on the top floor, reward themselves with big bonuses and large salaries, they rarely look after the people who work for them. At least we don't have to sleep in the attic.