Upstairs, Downstairs
The post-war years 2

Impressed by the common soldier's readiness to fight for an ideal, Major James Bellamy returned from the Great War with a new respect for the working class. Determined to help them in peacetime, he secured a parliamentary candidacy in the East End of London. But men who had blindly obeyed orders on the battlefield would not accept upper-class leadership in Civvy Street.

Throwing herself into the roaring twenties, in 1921 Georgina organised a fancy-dress party at 165 based around the theme of freedom. During a break from the party, her current beau presented her with a rather stark ultimatum: "Marry me, or I'll kill myself." Thinking he was drunk and talking foolishly, Georgina returned downstairs to the festivities. When it came, only James recognised the sound of a gunshot from somewhere upstairs in the house...

Mrs Bridges wondered how it could travel through streets and buildings; Mr Hudson thought it a miracle of science; and Daisy and Lily just marvelled. Wireless was here to stay.

Bachelor Sir Guy Paynter was a well-connected millionaire who found he needed a female hostess for his many dinner parties – Virginia fitted the bill admirably. Richard wasn't too worried about this arrangement as he knew Paynter to be homosexual. However, when the newspapers started romantically linking the pair, Richard was forced to ask Virginia to stop – Paynter responded by being childish and spiteful.
Robert Hardy played Paynter and was, along with Charles Gray (Married Love), the biggest guest stars the show would attract.

As the 1920s came to their conclusion, the old way of life – the class structure which had supported the Bellamy establishment – was beginning to break down. Industrial confrontation in the latter part of the decade revealed a more conscious, less subservient working class, intent on gaining its rights. With class barriers being pushed aside, the young people of Eaton Place found themselves in the oddest places. Yet, for James Bellamy, firmly entrenched in the old order, the changes were incomprehensible and unacceptable. In 1926, James drove a bus to beat the General Strike called by the men he had once championed.

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