Story: Household management

A long day

A long day

A woman in a domestic servant's uniform cleans out a coal range. Households that could afford it and could find one had a servant; in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, about 10% of households did so. Although the mistress and master usually still did some household tasks (nearly 90% of households with servants only had one), the dirtiest, hardest jobs were done by the servant. A ‘general’, which single servants usually were, helped clean, cook and mind children. Servants usually lived in, so were on call seven days a week.

Not surprisingly, it was hard to get and keep servants. For two or three decades after the Second World War, few people had them, but from the mid-1970s it became increasingly common to have a cleaner (usually once a week for a few hours) or someone to mow the lawn.

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Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira
Reference: C9423

Permission of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Household management - Overview of household management', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 June 2024)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 Sep 2013