location, location, location!
Posted by P. Bingham on February 07, 1998 at 14:43:04:
In response to How interesting!, written by Helen on February 06, 1998 at 11:06:21
When I answered this questioned I tried to imagine what my choices were at that time and how I would react to them given what I might understand as a contemporary. But it's very difficult. I do believe that the answer would truly depend on where I lived, and usually, where my family lived as families tended to stick together. And of course it might depend upon what my family did for a living. Women (and even men) often did not have a choice, their occupations had sort of evolved for them, through thier families and the times. And let's not forget my social status. I'd not have any choices there.
If I lived in the country, my occupation might depend on what region. For instance, if I lived in the Midlands, in Leeds there were cloth manufacturers, weavers, sheep and turnips to name a few. Sheffield was a steam engine town of iron and steel and smoke. There were also factories for hardware and glass and gun barrels. My choices would revolve around that... If my mother weaved cloth, you can almost bet that I'll be doing that too. If my father worked on gun barrels, there I'd be (not sure about the gender issue though) Birmingham was the center of metal manufacturing and in Manchester you had the cotton industry. Around the countryside, you had your cultivated farms. There were only so many estates in a community which right there would limit servant jobs. People stayed near thier families. They were not likely to go to another town to find a servant's job. If I wanted to live it up in a mansion as a servant, I may not even have that luxury open to me. Perhaps I might like to work on a farm. If my parents were steel workers, I probably wouldn't be on a farm.
If I lived in Southwestern England, a relatively poor area with little industry, I might consider going to another town for work as farm wages here were very low (no competition for the labor of farm workers). If a wealthy family lived here, they might take me on as a servant opr a governess. I might just throw in the towel and go to London.
If I lived in Northern England my choices would be fairly narrow too. This is where the coal mines were that supplies the coal to the rest of the country. It was hard to farm here, most of the region was uncultivated. If I were to farm it would be oats or sheep. Farm servants here lived in the farmstead with the family. My wages might not be very disappointing though. Farmsteads were miles apart and the coal meant a low cost of heating. I would be expensive labor due to the competition between the coal industry and the farmstead laborers. My choices here as a woman would be bleak, though. I leave it to your imagination. If the men did not work in the mines, perhaps they could work on a collier and as they made their trip with the coal down the east coast of England, perhaps they might be impressed into work by the British Navy which happened all the time!
If I wanted to be a governess, that would depend upon my education too as well as my social status. If I came from a family of coal workers, being a governess may not ever enter my mind, even in my misery.
- No, No, NO!!!!!!! Caroline 21:48:29 2/07/98 (2)
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