Domestic Maids

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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Kit Bartlett
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Domestic Maids

Post by Kit Bartlett » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:13 pm

Are staff still supplied to do major cleaning in Houses ? I recall that in the Prep. in the nineteen forties there were uniformed maids who performed this work. They also used to check that Housey coats were clean. In the Upper school there were
charladies as they were then called who did not wear uniform as such.

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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:05 pm

There was a hierarchy. There were resident 'housemaids', who basically attended the matron and did her bidding, and were responsible for the cleanliness of the dormitories, and sorting out laundry, and that sort of thing. Four per house block, if I recall.

Then, on a lower level (they had separate dining rooms, something I noted with curiosity as the queue moved up to the wardrobe on my first day at CH) were the kitchen maids. These were mostly Italians ('Orientals', as the Barnes matron, Miss Watts, called them), and had their rooms at the back of the kitchen block.

The charladies were local women who cleaned the ground floor of the houses during morning school. Non-resident, and in the case of ThB anyway, entirely taciturn and very long-serving.

Towards the end of my stay at CH, the scene was livened up by the appearance of attractive and well-educated au pairs. We had a German one in Thornton, who left a book called 'Philosophie' lying around the dormitory, which offered me an excuse to engage in some converse with her when I picked it up to give back. But most famously there were two Norwegians in the kitchen who formed relationships with, and later married, a young master and a grecian respectively. The latter couple are still married, the then young master was still married when he died a few years ago,
Th.B. 27 1955-63

BroadieMan
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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by BroadieMan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:36 pm

Yeah, there's still cleaners in all the houses, but they aren't uniformed. And they didn't do any of the fancy stuff like clean our coats or anything. But still, they make things all nice and shiny, even if us students had to do various trades in the evening to clean up again after they'd left, because we'd messed everything up again. Also, there's a few guys that come in and take all the washing down to the laundry for cleaning. They drive around in a stupid little milk float, for some reason. :P You can always hear it coming... :D

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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by Angela Pratt » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:37 pm

Interesting. Not like Hertford when we all had allocated ward(house)work to do each day....

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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:37 pm

So did we, actually, Angela. House trades covered a wide gamut of activities, from sweeping the dayroom floor to carrying coal to the matron's and housemasters' rooms. Then there was 'rolls' -- collecting the rolls of clean linen from the matron (the housemaids had assembled them) and putting them at the ends of the beds. There were also various trades associated with the logistics of the daily milk allocation.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by sejintenej » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:25 am

michael scuffil wrote:So did we, actually, Angela. House trades covered a wide gamut of activities, from sweeping the dayroom floor to carrying coal to the matron's and housemasters' rooms. Then there was 'rolls' -- collecting the rolls of clean linen from the matron (the housemaids had assembled them) and putting them at the ends of the beds. There were also various trades associated with the logistics of the daily milk allocation.
In Col A the entire ground floor was exhaustively cleaned every evening and that includes over the door frames ......
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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by postwarblue » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:02 pm

I was Col B Trades Monitor 1953-4 (excellent training for becoming an organiser and administrator btw). In-house Trades as I recall now were 'Biscuits' (drawing and issuing squashed flies at Break), Billiards, Ping-Pong, and the evening sweep-around of the ground floor. There were no duties in the centre of the block (Matron, housemasters etc) which was pretty well OOB except on duty as it were including borrowing the iron to iron knife-edge creases into one's serge Corps battledress. Most of the Trades were carried out in the Dining Hall including for instance Skiffage where boys competed to see how much leftover food could be flicked onto Skiffage's bluecoat.
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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:02 pm

I was Trades Monitor in ThB for a term. TMs had a curiously hybrid status, which varied from house to house. In ThB I was 'almost' a monitor, sitting in hall with the 'down-bottom' monitors, and was allowed to stay up late with the monitors, but I didn't have my own table in the dayroom, or a swab.

Until the very term I was TM, TMs didn't have to join houses for dinner parade. But then Chris Miller (I think it was) as Hall Warden issued a decree that we should, i.e. join houses in the Avenue. This caused a slight problem. As the most senior non-monitor, I could hardly be expected to march with the most junior in the blank file, but where else was there? The house captain (it was Chris Slade, our import from ColB) just said: take your place as a monitor.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by sejintenej » Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:22 am

michael scuffil wrote:I was Trades Monitor in ThB for a term. TMs had a curiously hybrid status, which varied from house to house. In ThB I was 'almost' a monitor, sitting in hall with the 'down-bottom' monitors, and was allowed to stay up late with the monitors, but I didn't have my own table in the dayroom, or a swab.
Almost ditto in Col A except that I sat at the monitor's table and did have a swab. Certainly we didn't march in to breakfast and supper (it was not practical) but I can't remember about lunches.
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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by jhopgood » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:00 am

I was the Trade Monitor's swab in Barnes B from my 2nd term, and he had a desk in the dayroom. Lancefield, I think he was called.
Not surprised Chris Miller was a bit impractical in his suggestions. He was Housemaster in Barnes B after Cherniavsky and never impressed.
He left to be the Headmaster to Doon School in India,
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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by postwarblue » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:15 pm

As Col B's TM I had the 'top' seat on the Top Table in the dayroom and could stay up until 1000 (Monitors stayed up to 1030). As I was supervising Trades in the DH parading for meals didn't come into it. One was Maitre d' so to speak. But otherwise not quite Sahib-log.
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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by Westondonkey » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:09 pm

A Polish maid appeared for a bit.
It was expedient that a boy and her left the premises.

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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by BroadieMan » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:19 pm

Westondonkey wrote:A Polish maid appeared for a bit.
It was expedient that a boy and her left the premises.
WOW, seriously? :shock:
I believe the proper term is a "lad". And as for the maid? She's what we call a "lad"y. :P

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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by DavebytheSea » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:28 pm

Westondonkey wrote:A Polish maid appeared for a bit.
It was expedient that a boy and her left the premises.
... and there were the Sicker nurses ..... in his book Growing up in A War (Amazon £4.69 and an excellent read about CH), Bryan Magee rather touchingly describes how a young nurse took pity on the injured Magee one night (following a rugby injury) and climbed into bed with him to give him comfort. This led to ongoing fornication in Chelshams over many months. Even now, he feels a soft spot for her, I think.
David Eastburn (Prep B and Mid A 1947-55)

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J.R.
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Re: Domestic Maids

Post by J.R. » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:03 am

I have only 'fond' memories of one sicker nurse and I can't even remember her name.

In my last year on a overnight stay at the Infirmary, she sat by me bed chatting for ages. And at that age with teen hormones racing........
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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