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Blackwood – Welsh girls ‘in service’

In our May meeting, we were very pleased to welcome Rosemary Scadden, author of the recently-published book ‘No Job for a Little Girl’.

Her well-researched talk gave us a clear understanding of the system of domestic service, and explained the changes brought about by social, political and economic developments in the first half of the 20th century.

But her talk really concerned the stories of 20 young girls who, between 1910 and 1930 had left their homes in south-east Wales to seek work elsewhere, many of them in London. What a culture shock for those naive, inexperienced girls!

We all know about the long hours, hard work and (sometimes) cruelty which were their lot, but Rosemary’s vivacious delivery brought all these young girls to life for us, and involved us in the sadness of their loneliness and exhaustion, and happy relief at the better things that befell them. Some even found good husbands, and lived happily ever after!

We were then given the opportunity to ask questions, and also to share with each other some of the stories of our own ancestors ‘in service’.


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