The Georgian Era in English History began with King George I taking the throne in 1714 and lasted till King George IV remained on the throne until 1830. Between them were King George II and King George. The Georgian Era marks one of the most dramatic times in terms of social change in the history of the country.
During this time, social life had started to change rapidly. There were different types of machines that had been invented and factories were making a presence on the English scenery. Besides, the improvement in medical sciences had promoted growth in population. All these factors resulted in a number of new occupations springing up that were gaining popularity during this time.
State of Employment in the Georgian Era Society
The fast increase in the population of England during Georgian times became a cause of concern for many government officials. As a result, in 1801, the first census was conducted in England. The report of the survey provides details about the major occupations of people during that time.
The census report of 1801 reveals that the English society was divided into two social classes- the upper and the lower, before the Georgian Era. According to it, everyone except the women of the upper social classes used to work in the English society.
While the upper classes were owners of land and most of the money in society, they used to employ the lower class men to work for them. However, during the 18th century, a middle class was at a rise in English society. Women of the lower classes used to work for earning their daily bread.
Major Occupations of the Georgian Era Lower Classes
The growth in the direction of the industrial revolution resulted in a number of new occupations that emerged in English society during the Georgian Era. However, they provided the people of the lower sections of the society to make a living for themselves, most of these forced them to work in very harmful and almost inhumane conditions.
The occupations that most people of the lower social classes had taken up were related to mining. Coal was one of the most important natural fuel and the technological developments that were taking place demanded that more and more coal should be mined. This resulted in the growth of mines and most lower class people used to work as miners, extracting coal from the underground mines.
Besides this, the earliest days of the industrial revolution resulted in factories mushrooming in all parts of England, especially the cities.
These factories needed unskilled people to work as labor and became another major industry that was providing work to most people of the lower classes. These occupations posed a major threat to the lives of the workers and often resulted in a number of breathing and eyesight related problems. Still, they were popular because of the promising lifestyle they provided.
In spite of the many new jobs that were created, there were still a few people of the lower social classes who continued to work for the rich directly. They were employed as servants and chaperones who were responsible for managing the houses of the rich and doing other meager routine chores for them.
Major Occupations of the Georgian Era Upper Classes
The men of the upper classes were called Gentlemen during the Georgian Era and held a social status of superiority and authority. They held most of the money in the society, which had been inherited by them from their fathers in case of the eldest sons. These rich landlords did not use to work but employ the lower class men and women as servants.
For the younger sons of the gentlemanly classes, it was difficult to inherit property and hence, they had to work in order to ensure that they are able to maintain their social status. Most of them used to purchase a high rank in the military and work as officers. Besides this, working as barristers and attaining a high rank in the clergy were also some methods to maintain their gentleman status and earning a livelihood.
Major Occupations of the Georgian Era Middle Classes
During the Georgian Era, the population increased rapidly and this resulted in the formation of a new social class which was the middle class. The middle class comprised of families that did not belong to the gentry. However, there were men who had taken up education or skill and were now not ready to perform the jobs that the lower classes were doing.
Most people of the middle classes worked as clerks and managers. There were a number of factories that were coming up and most men of the middle classes used to work in those factories. Besides, they also worked as factory workers who were restricted to the most important manual jobs, apart from accounting and managing. Some small miners also started to rise and form a part of the growing middle classes.
Major Occupations of the Georgian Era Women
For women, working was not considered appropriate during the Georgian Era. As a result, the women of the high and middle classes used to stay indoors and manage their households. However, due to the limited income of their men and large families, most women of the lower class families used to work.
Initially, these women used to work as maidservants and helpers to the rich women. They used to perform their chores for them and helped them to complete their household duties. With the growth of factories, some of them also took up jobs as cleaners and cooks in factories, from where they used to get a wage.
Among women, it was also common to work as prostitutes even though they were not accepted as members of society. Most young women of the lower classes who were left by their husbands or were widowed used to take up prostitution as a means to make their ends meet. As it was not forbidden for men to pay for prostitutes, most of them used to earn well from their upper class patrons.