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8 - Always “give room”:  that is, if you encounter one of your betters in the house or on the stairs, you are to make yourself as invisible as possible, turning yourself toward the wall and averting your eyes.

       

9 - Except in reply to a salutation offered, never say “good morning” or “good night” to your employer.

       

10 - If you are required to walk with a lady or gentleman in order to carry packages, or for any other reason, always keep a few paces back.

       

11 - You are expected to be punctual to your place at mealtime

       

12 - You shall not receive any Relative, Visitor or Friend into the house, nor shall you introduce any person into the Servant’s Hall, without the consent of the Butler or Housekeeper.

       

13 - Followers are strictly forbidden.  Any member of the female staff who is found to be fraternizing shall be immediately dismissed.

       

14 - Expect that any breakages or damages in the house shall be deducted from your wages.

As far as household help went there were a variety of jobs available to women. The richer the household, the more differing jobs there were to be filled. These would have included cook, chamber maid, scullery maid, ladies maid and governess.

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The “ideal woman” was an idea that found great favour in Victorian society. Women were seen as pure things that should not have to partake in heavy labour. Therefore, the only options open to a woman who wanted, or more likely needed, to work were either some form of domestic help, skilled labour or, for those who were fortunate enough to be educated, teaching.

Below is an extract from an advert in a paper from the 1800’s listing the qualities and traits expected of a servant:

 

 1 - When being spoken to, stand still, keeping your hands quiet, and always look at the person speaking.

       

 2 - Never let your voice be heard by the ladies and gentlemen of the household, unless they have spoken directly to you a question or statement which requires a response, at which time, speak as little as possible.

       

 3 - In the presence of your mistress, never speak to another servant or person of your own rank, or to a child, unless only for necessity, and then as little as possible and as quietly as possible.

       

 4 - Never begin to talk to the ladies or gentlemen, unless to deliver a message or to ask a necessary question, and then, do it in as few words as possible.

       

 5 - Whenever possible, items that have been dropped, such as spectacles or handkerchiefs, and other small items, should be returned to their owners on a salver.

       

 6 - Always respond when you have received an order, and always use the proper address:  “Sir”, “Ma’am”, “Miss” or “Mrs,” as the case may be.

       

 7 - Never offer your opinion to your employer.

Go to our 'Downloadable Worksheets' to download these rules...

The job of governess would almost always be taken by single women with no family. Women were there to have children and if you were a single woman or worse, a married woman who couldn’t produce children, then you were to be pitied as something quite unnatural. Those jobs that involved working with children were often seen as consolation to women without children of their own.

 

The woman’s place was most definitely in the home and nowhere is this more evident than in the writings of Isabella Beeton whose 1861 publication of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management became the must-have tome for all “Household Generals”.

Other jobs that were available to women were things such as seamstress, milliner, washerwoman or knitter. These jobs would be taken as well as running their own home and raising their family. Such was the woman’s responsibility.

It's amazing how different things were only just over a hundred years ago.

Victorian Maid No vote Victorian coin

Women were not allowed to vote, would almost never be granted custody of their children in the case of divorce, were not allowed a savings account of their own and even gave up all of their possessions and money upon marriage.