He's listed as a valet, but what exactly is his job? Since he can't carry lugagge, be in the dinning room, what his job is excepting undress his Lordship?
In a grand house like Downton, a valet would not generally be called upon for those duties. See here , for example.
In the penultimate episode, we see Bates and Anna polishing silver, while discussing Mrs Patmore predicament...
They are always polishing silver. Everybody excepting Mr Carson, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Patmore or Daisy has been seen polishing silver. How many spoons they have? XD
Last one. That's wrong. One of the main duties of the butler was to polish silver. He was polishing silver while he was singing his love song, after he had found out that Mrs Hughes wasn't ill.
Sorry, I didn't remember that
The valet's main job was to take care of his gentleman's appearance. This means that in addition to polishing shoes (which we see Bates do), he might also brush, clean, or iron clothes. Anything that needed to be packed away seasonally (such as winter or summer clothing) would be packed away by the valet with appropriate materials (such as cedar or mothballs), and would be aired out by him well in advance of the time they needed to be used again. A valet would also frequently shave his employer (this is still the era of the straight razor...), and would draw his bath.
In addition, valets function like lady's maids in that they perform all the duties that make their employer's lives easier. For example, when Robert travels to London to attend the House of Lords, Bates would be the one to buy the train tickets at the station, to arrange for the transfer of luggage, and upon arrival in London to hail the taxi (assuming that Rosamund did not send her car) that will take them to Robert's club (which is where we have been told Robert stays on such occasions.) Bates would also be called upon to deliver notes or messages, or to make small necessary purchases -- so, if Robert needed postage stamps, Bates would be the one to go get them; if Robert was taking Cora to a play, Bates would pick up the tickets, etc.
What do you think?