Between-maid, continued


If you were ill that was your hard luck. The kitchen had three steps down to the scullery where the sinks were, and once I was carrying a saucepan of boiling greens to strain off the water and I slipped and scalded my leg. I remember I was wearing thick black stockings and as I pulled them off the skin came off too. All Cook could say was, 'What shall we do - we've got no greens!' The Lady of the House said, 'We'll have to send you home' but the Doctor said I should rest. One of the other maids brought me meals, and I got back to work just as soon as I could. If you were really ill they just sacked you - you had no comeback. No insurance was paid for under-16s, so servants were often sacked when they reached 16. It was up to you to look for something better.

At that job I earned 1 a month (Sugar was 2d for a 2lb (1kg) bag, 6d for a 15 mile train ticket.) Shop girls were worse off than girls in service - at least we got board and lodging.

When I left this job in Herefordshire, I moved up to London to work in service there.


start again