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Social Pyramid and Community
By Peter Kingsford

The social pyramid of the area at the eve of the century was made up of 165 labourers, 28 gardeners, 10 gamekeepers 10 and 30 artisans. Of those artisans there were five blacksmiths, seven bricklayers, seven carpenters, three factory workers, one painter, one plumber, two shoemakers, one tinplate worker, one wheelwright and one whitesmith.

There were others in about six different groups in roughly ascending order: 19 railway, 17 clerical and small business, 24 shopkeepers, including six publicans, eight self-employed, 13 farmers and bailiffs, 20 professional and big business and two big landowners.

Working Women

The working women, apart from housewives, were mostly domestic servants. It was the main occupation for girls leaving school and their schooling prepared them for it.

There were another 40, including a washerwoman and a barmaid, three charwomen, a school cleaner and a dairy maid, 11 dressmakers, including two apprentices, three governess, 14 laundresses, one motherís help, one shop manageress, three teachers. Some 90 village women worked as domestic servants.

The additional 50 who served at the big houses may be left out as they were not part of the parish labour force. They were imported into the parish and probably had little to do with the local people.

The variety and extent of the above list of menís occupations may seem surprising for a traditional agricultural parish.

Part of the explanation is the rapid growth of Little Heath, the outlying hamlet on the Great North Road. Most of the gardeners, nearly all the dressmakers and laundresses, many domestic servants, the washerwoman, the motherís help and the barmaid lived there. These and others were servicing a new middle class in Little Heath: men on the Stock Exchange, solicitors, company directors, self employed men, clerks and shopkeepers.

By Peter Kingsford


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