In Search of Preferment

Eleanor Hubbard

in City Women

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199609345
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739088 | DOI:
In Search of Preferment

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter argues that most women in London were originally migrants from elsewhere in England, who arrived in the city around the age of eighteen to serve as maidservants. It presents quantitative data about the geographical origins of London women and compares their origins and ages at migration to the better‐known male apprentices. It also examines where maids settled, how they found employment, how long they remained in particular households, their mobility within the city, their status within the households in which they worked and their relationships with their masters and mistresses, how much they were paid, and the kinds of work that they did. The risks and benefits of migration are discussed, the greatest risk being the high levels of disease and the occasional epidemics of plague that swept the city.

Keywords: migration; mobility; domestic service; maidservants; mortality; plague; early modern London; youth; apprenticeship

Chapter.  16065 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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