Miss West (no first name revealed) was a one-episode pivotal character on the UK-US produced period dramatic series, Downton Abbey. She was played by UK actress Di Botcher.
Nasty Nanny who hated Sybbie Branson
We first meet the woman called Nanny West in the first episode of the Fourth season of the show. Miss West was the first nanny for the recently born children, Sybbie Branson and George Crawley. She was hired soon after the children were born. At that time, Sybbie was two and George was still an infant.
She was supposedly responsible for making sure they were taken care of properly, however, it was a possibility that was not the case. Mainly she played favorites.
While she adored George, because of his bloodline (he was the son of Lady Mary Crawley and the late Matthew Crawley), she had no liking for Sybbie, because she was an Anglo-Irish mix (her mother, Lady Sybil Branson, was British, while her father, Tom Branson was a former chauffeur and was Irish). This quite explained why Sybbie did not like her (she would cry when the woman was anywhere near her). There was also a lot of resentment from Ms. West as she was caring for a child who was the daughter of a former servant. Servants usually do not like working for those who were once servants themselves.
She also had a tendency to keep others in the family from visiting the children, especially Matthew's mother, Isobel Crawley Grey.
She would run afoul of Thomas Barrow, the family's under-butler, when she put a stop to him admiring and talking to Sybbie, of whom he has a rather genuine fondness for. The butler pointedly told her that he had known the child's mother, Lady Sybil, from his days of working with her when Downton was a convalescent home for the war wounded and that she did not know her (as Lady Sybil had been dead and gone by that time).
Nanny West did not care anything about what Thomas was telling her (she would have kept Lady Sybil herself from Sybbie, if she could have gotten away with it), and ordered him to tell Mrs. Beryl Patmore, Downton's cook, about plans for the children's luncheon.
He refused to follow her orders, telling her to go down to the kitchen and tell the cook herself. She again ordered Thomas to tell Mrs. Patmore to leave the scrambled egg out of Sybbie's tea, while George would be given the egg.
Again he refused, believing that it was not his place to do her job. However, a concerned Thomas was beginning to realize that Nanny West was really and truly mistreating Sybbie, and he would not tolerate that.
After one more confrontation, wherein Nanny West told Thomas that as she was more a senior member of Staff than he was, she had the right to rule it over Thomas, the under-butler had finally had enough of the nasty woman and her misplaced "importance"!
With revenge (as always) on his mind, although this time it was more colored by the aims to protect George and Sybbie from being hurt by Nanny West's neglectfulness, Thomas reported her and her leaving the children unattended to Cora Crawley, the children's grandmother.
When Cora passed by the nursery later that night, she overheard Nanny West insulting Sybbie by calling her a "wicked little Cross-breed". Cora was stunned at hearing a woman who had hired to take care of her grandchildren viciously insulting them, which was abusive.
She had realized that Thomas was quite right in his assessment of the woman. She realized that she had to do something, and that was to sack the woman.
Storming in the nursery, Cora rang the bell calling for someone to come from downstairs and then ordered the evil woman to leave the Abbey "first thing in the morning".
She would allow her to stay overnight (she would have Elsie Hughes set up a room for her to sleep in), but she was to leave the house the next morning. West kept saying that she was playing a game with Sybbie (which was a lie) but Cora was not buying her excuses.
The angry chatelaine finished the now ex-nanny off by saying, "I do not wish to discuss this, except to say, your values have no place in a civilized home!"
As Ms. West was packing (crying all the while, mind you!), Cora sat down in the rocker and, until a maid came in to be in the nursery, she stayed right there to watch her grandchildren. It was presumed that, before the maid had entered, she had comforted Sybbie after the insulting and berating that she had endured from the now ex-nanny.
After Ms. West was sacked (presumably without any reference, because of her mistreatment of Sybbie), Cora would engage a new nanny, one who was more in line with what she saw as a nanny. That nanny would remain throughout the remainder of the show's run.
She would also take on the duties of being nanny to not just Sybbie and George, but also to their recently discovered cousin, Marigold Gregson,when she would move into Downton.
At the series end, however, Marigold would move with her mother and step-father (Lady Edith Pelham and Herbert "Bertie" Pelham) and a new nanny that would be hired to take care of her, to Brancaster Castle.
Although she allowed nannies to raise them, due to the era they were in; Cora, because of her American upbringing, was a more hands-on grandmother to her beloved grandchildren, just as she had been with her daughters.