A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


What is the general view about private domestic service? Is there strong feeling about large households? Is it thought that domestic service in small households, such as the one maid household where man and wife are in war jobs, or where there are a number of children, is in itself, a form of national service?

Questions asked: Do you consider any form of private domestic service should rank as of national importance? If so, what?

Considers some form of domestic service as of national importance

A and B C and D Total
% % %
Yes, conditionally 64 42 49
None 36 58 51
Sample 611 1892 2503

Opinion is almost equally divided among those who consider certain forms of domestic service as of national importance and those who do not. Class differences are very marked, only a third of the A and B group considering no form of domestic service to be of national importance, whereas more than half of the C and D group is of this opinion.

The conditions making domestic service into a job of national importance are in order of their significance:-

People unable to do for thenselves. 1
Depends on number of children in household. 2
If employer of domestic is doing war work. 3
In boarding house, doctors’ houses. 4
Somebody to do the heavy cleaning. 5

This order is the same for both classes.

Those who do not allow for any domestic service argue as follows:-

“No - I don’t think so - if a woman’s good and healthy she can do her own work. My mother is 78 and has had maids all her life, but now she is doing for herself, and taking two boys in as well!” (Housewife aged 22)

“No, people with money can do their bit towards the war by doing their own work and so releasing maids.”

“Yes, if a woman’s been used to it; but it comes terribly hard for a woman who’s never done work - somebody is needed to do heavy cleaning.”

“Everybody ought to be able to look after their own house if fit; its different in case of elderly or invalid people”.

“If a housekeeper to anyone not able to do work for themselves”.

“No - don’t see why women should go about with nothing to do, having a cook and nannie. If a working man’s wife can do work, they can!” (Housewife aged 26)

We use cookies to track usage and preferences.

Privacy & Cookie Policy Accept & Close