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