Maid's afternoon uniform

About this object

At the beginning of the twentieth century, well-off families would have had a team of servants to wait on them, clean the house and do the cooking and gardening. Until the late 1930s, the Tinne family had several servants at any one time, including a cook, a general housemaid, a nursery maid, a gardener and a chauffeur.

Employers were expected to supply servants who worked indoors with uniforms. Emily Tinne would have bought sets of apron, collar, cuffs and cap from shops like Brewsters, in Byrom Street, Liverpool. She seems to have bought too many, as several remain in the packets with the price tag on them!

The Tinnes had one reliable servant, who joined the household in 1924 and worked for them for nearly twenty years. Her name was Phyllis Ward. Other servants came and went and Philip and Emily Tinne complained constantly about the difficulties of finding good workers. As more employment opportunities opened up for women, it got harder and harder to find domestic servants.

Phyllis started in 1924 as a nursemaid to the Tinne's youngest daughter Alexine. In her spare time, Phyllis loved to go ice skating at the Liverpool Silver Blades Ice Rink in Kensington. In work, she became indispensable to the family. Once the children got older, she became a housemaid and wore a uniform like this to serve afternoon tea to the Tinnes and their guests.
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