Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mary Anne Disraeli's Account Book - a comparison of worths.

Before we leave Hughendon, I thought you might like to see this. Its a record kept by Disraeli's wife, Mary Anne. It's a very interesting snippet of social history, and is self explantory.

I've also worked out the equivalent values for today but this can be confusing as the results vary according to whether you use the Retail Price Index or Average Earnings.  I have given both, so you can make up your own minds.

The differences between the two figures are sometimes interesting in their own rights, and make me challenge some of my long held beliefs about values and worth.

A present for the coachman of £1 for his new baby equates to £70.20 today, using the Retail Price Index and £652 using Average Earnings.

Below. A 10lb piece of beef at 6 shillings and 10 pence (20 shilling to a £). I've checked Tesco for the price of sirloin beef and the same weight today would cost £15.97 per kilo or approximately £45 for the 10lb piece. Average earnings in 1860 show this to be a lot of money, and it's equivalent would be £223.00 (BUT the RPI would only be £24)

Below. Don't employ Mrs Glenheim should she come your way;  she sounds a total waste of space.

And they really should have waited a bit with Brown before giving him his snuff box.

In 1847 3 maids and 2 men cost in total £129 - 12 - 6p for a year, but they spent £258 on their own wine consumpton.

Again the calculations that might give this worth vary largely on whether you compare what that amount would buy (£6,680 today) or whether you compare the actual earnings equivalent (Average Earnings Index £93,600) If you use the latter and make the wrong assumption that men and woman earned equally, it gives a rough idea of what a servant would have been paid today which is £18,720. I checked with Butlers salaries via google and they can expect to earn between £50,000 to £100,000. We found a record of a Butler at Burleigh earning £300 a year, whilst the lowly maid was getting £9)

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