Victorian Maids: The concept of household maids is fairly common nowadays. But due to modernization, this culture has become quite different than what it used to be back in the United Kingdom during the Victorian Era. Housemaids used to be allocated different jobs by the mistresses.
Almost most certainly maids referred to female persons who were employed to perform domestic services.
The Victorian Maids
Though housemaids are now found only in the wealthiest of families, the concept of housemaids used to be very common during the Victorian Era, the service being the second largest category of employment in England and Wales.
The House Maids
The regular jobs of the Victorian households were accomplished by a number of different housemaids.
These included the parlor maid, the waitress, and the chambermaids. All these maids were allocated different jobs and were responsible for various jobs.
The Parlour Maid
The parlor maid was kept in the household mainly in place of the single footman. Thus the duties performed by the parlourmaid would be the same as his. The parlor maid would have various duties like opening the door to visitors and guiding them to the drawing room, setting the table for breakfast, luncheon or dinner, clearing them away, bringing the afternoon tea and similar details.
She would also be responsible for repairing the linen, wait on the mistress and address her when needed. She was also responsible for helping in making the bed, maintain the drawing room fireplace and put fresh curtains.
The parlor maid would be wearing a print gown and simple cap in the morning. Her dress would change to a simple, black one, with white collars, cuffs, and cap in the afternoon. The parlor maid was supposed to work as noiselessly as possible. She was responsible for anticipating the movements of the diners at the table and handing them what they need.
The presence of a manservant in the room would mean that he would be the butler, while the maid would serve as the footman. When the dinner is over, the parkour maid would need to remove the items from the table, wash them and put them back in place.
The work of the chambermaid was supposed to start at six thirty. She would need to open the rooms and let the light flow in. Then she would need to sweep and dust the rooms and the halls. Then she would need to dust the hat, overcoat and other wearables needed by the master.
The chambermaid should also learn to take the clothes off the bed and air them properly, this being one of the important duties performed by her. The responsibility also extended to making the beds, opening the bedroom windows and turning the mattress to the air. She would also dust the furniture, woodwork and other objects around the house.
Thus the chambermaid was responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the house and maintain the hygiene of the household. If it was not possible to do all the job before luncheon, she would need to clean the silverware afterward.
The chambermaid was also expected to assist in the pantry if there were dinner parties at night. The chambermaid would draw the shades and light up the gas when dusk falls. She would also remove soiled towels and put fresh ones, tidy the washstand and see that drinking water is available in all the bedrooms.
The Second Chambermaid
The chambermaid might sometimes be overburdened with all the jobs assigned to her. That is why the second chambermaid would be found useful. She would be in charge of the bedrooms on the third floors, the halls there and the stairs.
The chambermaids would be responsible for cleaning any other rooms that are there on the floor. Her job was restricted to cleaning them early in the morning. The nurses would be responsible for keeping it in order for the rest of the day.
The Third Chambermaid
The third chambermaid would brush and dust the sewing room early in the morning so as not to disturb the lady’s maids during their work. She would be in charge of tidying the rooms of the servants, the bathrooms, and the stairs.
She would also make the beds of the men, the kitchen maids, the cooks and sweep and dust their rooms. She would also keep the servants’ hall in order and clean the silver for the table. She was also responsible for cleaning the dining hall.
The waitress has almost the same job as that of the butler. She would be in charge of the dining room and the pantry, clean the silver and take charge of the cooling and warming of the wines and serve the meals. She would also serve the refreshment required in the evening, carry coffee and dinner to the parlor.
She would always be in a black dress, white apron, and a cap before the lunch is served. She would answer the front door, taking turns with the parlor maid. She would fasten all the doors and windows at night and put out the gas and lamps. These were the housemaids in a typical household in the Victorian Era.