Servant-Keepers and the Management of Servants

Lucy Delap

in Knowing Their Place

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199572946
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728846 | DOI:
Servant-Keepers and the Management of Servants

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter explores the practices and subjectivities of the employers of servants. The anxieties of Victorian and early-twentieth-century mistresses and masters are examined, with particular attention to their efforts to establish domestic authority over their servants. Gifts in both directions highlighted the dilemmas of the relationships of these ‘distant companions’, and the relationships sustained between servants and children also prove revealing. This chapter describes the efforts to unionize domestic service, and the influence of the courts and legal context on the relationships within British homes.

Keywords: gender; class; domestic authority; children; trades unions; gifts; courts; law; employers; middle class

Chapter.  18872 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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