Working in Service

There were no fires and no lights because the gas had been cut off. You had to clean with cold water.

 

I went into service when I was 14 – only 14 and just beginning to learn about the world. It was the 1930s. It was an old house on Lovaine Place and the woman had just lost her husband. There were no fires and no lights because the gas had been cut off. She was a bit eccentric. Their first place did me. I never lived in again. It was like being in prison. There was never any hot water – you had to clean with cold and the brasses outside had never been cleaned in years. It took me five weeks of daily cleaning to get them anything like clean.

The food was shocking. Food didn’t keep well in those days. It was often on the turn when I ate it. I lost weight. Eventually I went back home.

I’ve always done domestic work. I was an office cleaner in town for thirty two years. I was the eldest and had to keep the house running. I started at 3.30 am until 9.00 am and again from 6.00 pm in the evening until about 8.30 pm. I earned around £5.00 per week.

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