By Shelley Pennington

Homeworkers tend to be ladies who paintings of their personal houses for an outdoor enterprise and are paid on a one-piece foundation. The paintings is mostly unskilled and of a humdrum and repetitive nature. the industrial prestige of the homeworker has little or not anything in universal with the self sustaining craftsman operating in his own residence sooner than the onset of industrialization; homeworkers paintings with no supervision and feature no actual touch with their employers or sub-contractors other than while gathering or returning paintings. This quantity is an research of the industrial and social place of the predominantly girl labour strength of the homework industries from 1850 to 1985. The textual content examines adjustments that experience happened within the composition of the labour strength, the choices open to ladies and the kinds and geographical situation of homework. The authors severely overview makes an attempt to enhance the location of homeworkers and touch upon the customers for homeworking sooner or later.

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A Hidden Workforce: Homeworkers in England, 1850–1985

Homeworkers are typically ladies who paintings of their personal houses for an out of doors company and are paid on a one-piece foundation. The paintings is mostly unskilled and of a humdrum and repetitive nature. the industrial prestige of the homeworker has little or not anything in universal with the self reliant craftsman operating in his own residence earlier than the onset of industrialization; homeworkers paintings with out supervision and feature no actual touch with their employers or sub-contractors other than while accumulating or returning paintings.

Extra resources for A Hidden Workforce: Homeworkers in England, 1850–1985

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Homework was more socially acceptable than going out to work - this meant that homeworkers came from a wider social background than we might at first suppose. Not only married women but also single girls and spinsters from the lower middle class would often take in homework as a way of maintaining themselves in as decent a manner as possible. Homework was a useful occupation for daughters of lower-middle-class men who could not easily support unmarried daughters but who naturally did not want this fact to be generally known.

For example, in 1861 the national female strawplaiting workforce amounted to 27739 and in 1871, 45270. The majority of the labour force in glove making , straw-plaiting and lace-making were the wives and daughters of agricultural labourers. In the second half of the nineteenth century glove making was found in parts of Somerset, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Herefordshire and Dorset. Straw-plaiting and lace-making counties overlapped. The former was to be found in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and the latter in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Devon, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.

According to Collett, these women worked for money to purchase household extras but not for a livelihood. 7 However, homework provided the extra money needed to keep \,Ip appearances. It was Collett's opinion that the women of the skilled artisan and shop keeping strata were not ashamed of working for money but were most anxious to make it clear that they were working only for pocket money: 'pursuing a trade of their own free choice, not because they are obliged'. 8 The 1907 study of homework in West Ham confirmed the existence of lower-middle-class homeworkers.

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