ROSE BUCK was a character in the 1970s UK period drama, Upstairs, Downstairs as well as the 2010 continuation of the series. In both incarnations, she was played by veteran actress Jean Marsh, who was also the series' co-creator along with Eileen Atkins (who played Maud, Lady Holland in the 2010 continuation of the series).
From House Parlor maid to Senior Housekeeper
Rose was originally depicted as the head house parlor maid of 165 Eaton Place, a luxurious townhouse in the wealthy Belgravia section of London. She was very pragmatic, and although at times she could be very willful and sometimes stubborn, she was a cheerful and friendly woman who got on well with most everyone she came across. In the family below stairs, she was considered the eldest daughter.
She was, in the house hierarchy, one step below the lady's maid, Maude Roberts. Rose had grown up at Southwold, and her father was a servant there. It was inevitable that she would become a servant as well. Rose had come along with Kate Bridges and Angus Hudson from Southwold, when Lady Marjorie had married Richard Bellamy and they moved into 165 Eaton Place.
She had three under house parlor maids during her run on the original series, the first and most memorable was Sarah Moffat (Pauline Collins); the second was a young woman named Alice and the third was Daisy Peel Barnes (Jacqueline Tong), who later became the head house parlor maid.
Later on, with the arrival of Elizabeth Bellamy from Germany, Rose got a first taste of becoming a lady's maid. Except during a stint at Greenwich when Elizabeth was married to Lawrence Kirbridge, she had spent most of her life in the service of the Bellamys and before that, in the Southwold household.
Rose had romance come into her life with the advent of Gregory Wilmot, a sheep farmer from Australia, whom she was engaged to. He was later killed by a sniper in World War I which devastated her. As such he left her 1200 pounds from his estate for her.
When she convinced Major James Bellamy to invest it, it, along with his own investments, were wiped out by the Stock crash of 1929. Rose was devastated once again, but she soldiered on. For this, James was scolded harshly by his father, Richard Bellamy.
She became Lady's maid to Virginia Hamilton Bellamy, the second Mrs. Bellamy, and remained with them in their new home in Dorset until she retired from service in the mid 1930s. Upon her retirement, she was given a tea set for her many years of service.
She then opened a servant hiring agency in Belgravia, and she worked with Lady Agnes Hallam (Keeley Hawes), a woman whose husband, Foreign Office diplomat Sir Hallam Holland, (Ed Stoppard) had inherited 165 Eaton Place, and were intent on making it into a showplace once more.
With Rose's able help, the house gained some wonderful servants. The staff included a butler, Mr. Pritchard; a cook, Mrs. Thackeray; and several house maids and footmen. Rose was also brought back into service and was considered the senior staff member. She became the house's head housekeeper.
When Rose took ill with tuberculosis, she was put into a sanitarium to get healed. In her absence, the butler and cook battled over who was more in charge, since Rose, who was the senior servant, was out.
It took Rose remembering the camaraderie that Mr. Hudson and Mrs. Bridges had when she was head house parlor maid) returning to help the two realize that they were on equal footing. As the butler and the cook, she made them see that the two of them were the leaders of the servants hall.
At first, she didn't feel as if she belonged, because of her illness, but Lady Agnes gently told her that there was always a place for her and that she was needed indeed.
She was later revealed to have been released from the Sanitarium, after receiving a clean bill of health from her tuberculosis, and became the nanny for the children (who had been moved to Wales for their protection) while their mother and Blanche Mottershead remained in London.
Having been a house parlor maid and then rising her way to the rank of Senior Housekeeper, Rose had seen a lot over the course of her life, especially living through two world wars.