In a great house, the scullery maid is the lowest-ranking of the female servants and is assistant to a kitchen maid. Her traditional duties included the most physical and disagreeable tasks in the kitchen such as cleaning of the floor, stoves, sinks, pots and dishes. She never handled fine china, stemware, crystal or plate, these were cleaned by housemaids and footmen. Before the advent of central heating systems, she was required to light the fires and supply hot water.
In a household with no between maid, the scullery maid may also have waited on staff in the Servants' Hall, although this may have been assigned to another maid or a junior footman. In the days before the indoor water closet she may have been required to empty and clean the servants' chamber pots as well.