First Advisor

Thomas Luckett

Date of Award


Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors






Household employees -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century, Household employees -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century, Working class -- Great Britain -- History, Labor unions -- Great Britain




This thesis focuses on the lives and social status of British servants in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By the nineteenth century, service was the second-largest form of employment in Britain, and had ceased to be a vocation and become a regular form of labor. The thesis examines the structure of service and the growth of a working-class consciousness among servants during this period. I argue that servants ought to be treated by historians as a distinct subset of the working classes, due to the unique nature of their recruitment, job placement, working conditions, and the discrete class consciousness and union movement during the latter years of this period. How and why were servants distinct from their other working-class fellows? How did the relationship between servants and their employers develop over the course of the period, and how did it contribute to the peculiarity of service? How did the union movement affect servants as a group, and why was it less successful than the unionization efforts of other groups?


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Persistent Identifier