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Victorian vocation?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Malcolm Report 25 Jul 2013 13:22

I have a female ancestor who in the 1871 census is described as a "Late Housekeeper in a Gentleman's Home". Any thoughts on this please?
Kind regards

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 25 Jul 2013 13:37

Housekeeper for a Gentleman, simple as that I'd think, keeping the household running smoothly, in charge of the servants if any.


Reggie Report 25 Jul 2013 14:08

Sorry, but it seems self-explanatory

'late' in this context means 'formerly...................presumably, she was retired by 1871


Malcolm Report 25 Jul 2013 18:14

Thanks for thoughts. The lady in question was 59 in 1871 so she may well have been retired. Or perhaps she simply did the evening/late shift.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 25 Jul 2013 18:44

Housekeepers were on duty 24/7 they could be called on at any hour for an "emergency"

some had something like 1 day a month off when they left the under housekeeper in charge with lots of instructions but would again still be on call if needed


SylviaInCanada Report 27 Jul 2013 05:02

.............. and "in a gentleman's home" probably meant that she was housekeeper to a single man, not to a married man with a family.

saying she was "late housekeeper" did mean that was her last job, not that she was on late duty.

Most housekeepers lived in ................ they had total charge of the house, hired and fired staff. If it was a married couple, the wife would be nominally in charge, but it seems that a housekeeper for a single man might have been left to do it all ................... keep the house running smoothly and "don't bother me" sort of thing.

He might have died, or he might have married, and so she is without a job.

You might find out more, if you look on an earlier census.


DazedConfused Report 27 Jul 2013 12:38

Well everyone has ignored the other answer, which is less palatable

She could easily have been his mistress, they were often called 'live-in' housekeepers.