Chapter

Twentieth-Century Servants

Lucy Delap

in Knowing Their Place

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199572946
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728846 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572946.003.0002
Twentieth-Century Servants

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This chapter describes the varying circumstances in which young people became servants, and their experiences as servants. It explores the relationship between servants and their parents, the influence of mothers, and the significance of wages. The work of cleaners and chars is foregrounded, and the existing historiography is criticized. The persistent tendency to see servants only as victims is rejected through attention to the very diverse narratives that emerge from oral histories and memoirs. Finally, social class is explored within these narratives, and held to be an insufficient framework for capturing the subjectivities of domestic service

Keywords: class; servants; domestic service; employment; labour; char; cleaner; oral history; wages; mothers; working class

Chapter.  19690 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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