Back in those times, many children started to work at a young age, sometimes at age 8 but usually they started at age 10. Many of the children that started in the domestic service work come from working class men and domestic women, this is how they helped out in the house with the earnings.

The servants in these times were considered barely human and the only purpose in life for them are to serve and comfort the family.

There are two kind of maids in victorian times ; The Scullery Maid and the House Maid.

The Scullery maid was the usually the new girl that started into the domestic service, and she had the toughest job, due to the fact that the had to clean, polish brass work and silver, the front stairs, wash the dishes and pots.They also have to clean the kitchen floor and stoves, carry the hot water form the boiling room to the baths and each load usually weighted 15 kg.

They earned 10 to 13 pound annually.

The House maid was a different job depending on how many maids the family had in the house, but they usually fulfilled chores such as changing bed linens, making up bed, dusting and cleaning bedrooms,fireplaces.

They also had to lift coals to the bedrooms upstairs and light them everyday.

The manual duties would be scrubbing the floor on hand and knees, brushing carpets and beat the rugs ( they used to beat rugs to clean them from the dust.).

They would usually earn from 15 from 20 pounds anually.

Victorian housemaids

Household frame of maids.

Andrés Puig

In the early nineteenth century, it was common for young children to go into domestic service at a very early age, usually around ten years of age but sometimes as young as eight. The daughters of working class men and women had to earn their living and domestic service was considered an ideal occupation for young girls and single women.

The life was gruelling and exhausting. Working hours could be up to 17 long each day, from 5.30 a.m. in the morning until 10.30 p.m. The work was endless and physically demanding.

Servants were seen as dispensable creatures, barely human, solely in existence for the comfort of the family and so health and safety issues for the servant were not considered the employer’s responsibility.

The issue of servants’ injuries was finally included in the Workman’s Compensation Act of 1907. Maids and cooks had to endure lack of fresh air, monotonous, long hours of work and accidents in the course of their work such as burns, falls and cuts.

Servants slept in the kitchen or in cupboards under the stairs or in attics. They were often forbidden to sing or laugh and had to remain as noiseless and invisible as possible. If they came into contact with a member of the household, they were to keep quiet, avert their eyes and walk out of the room backwards. If anything was broken or damaged, the servant was made to pay and the sum would be deducted from their wages.

Lucas Molinet

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.