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Servants bell indicator box

Description:

In the early Victorian period girls and boys aged 12 could become servants but by the 1890s it was more normal for them to be between 14 and 16 years old. By late Victorian times going to school was compulsory, and when it became free many children went to school instead.

 

There were lots of jobs available because the well off needed help to run their large homes. Even people in quite small houses employed at least one servant because housework was much harder in the days before vacuum cleaners and modern cleaning materials. Young women became kitchen maids, ladies' maids, nannies, cooks, and sometimes eventually housekeepers. Young men could be footmen, valets, butlers, gardeners or gamekeepers.

 

Young people going into service often came from large families who lived in cramped conditions without much money. As a servant they had a place to stay, food, sometimes clothes, training and wages. In return they had to work very long hours, from early morning until late at night with one day, or perhaps only a half-day off per week. They had to wear a uniform and could not go out of the house without permission.

 

This electrical bell indicator board would have been used in a house to summon servants to a particular room. The white and red stars indicate which room requires service.

Materials/Media:
wood, glass, metal
Dimensions:
length 275mm, overall width 455mm, height 80mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1994.28
Digital Number:
DMDM028a-c
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council


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