Tuesday 5 October 2010

R.D.Blumenfeld on Barmaids

Thursday, June 23rd, 1887

Across the road, in the Gaiety bar, I indulged in the fashionable pastime of discussing world affairs over the marble-topped counter with one of the twenty duchesses who act as barmaids. This particular Juno tells me that her father is a clerk in a City shipping office; that he has been employed there thirty years, and his pay is thirty shillings a week! He has brought up five daughters and one son, and they now all contribute something to the family, though only the son lives at home. The four girls "live in" where they work. Two are barmaids and two are shop girls, and the combined weekly earnings of the four is £2 6s. The brother is a clerk in a shipping office, and receives 21s. a week, out of which he has to buy his top-hats and black coats. These people mystify me. "Living in," by the way, appears to be general here. All the men and women employed in the shops live on the premises.

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