Manor House
"If I'd been born 100 years ago a woman of my class would almost certainly have been in service. And I'd like to know what that meant." Antonia, kitchen maid
A collection of archived photographs

You'll be in Service!
- A Snapshot of your life as it might have been in 1905

You go to elementary school where you learn cookery and housework and occasionally a little arithmetic, history and geography although this is thought to be unimportant for girls.

Career Prospects
You go into service, working extremely long hours. You leave the job when you marry, but you supplement the family income by doing unskilled temporary work whenever you can get it.

Leisure Time
You escape when you can to meet friends at the music hall or in pubs.

Living Conditions
You're one of two servants working in a new villa on the outskirts of a city. You spend much of the time on your own in the house, working 14 hour days. When you marry and leave the house, you live in one gloomy room in a run-down house with your husband, children, your mother, father and brother. You share one smelly latrine between several families.

Marital Relations
You marry at the age of 25.

Position in Society

Position in society
Further up Your life as it might have been further UP society's ladder.
Position in society Position in society

Other Possible Occupations
Domestic servant, Parlour maid, Kitchen maid, Laundress, Washerwoman, Charwoman

General Statistics

  • In 1901, 85 percent of women over 45 were either married or widowed
  • In 1911, almost half of all illegitimate children were born to women in service
  • 'Unemployable' women would often end up at the workhouse, or as prostitutes

Background to You in 1905