TITLE

Experiment or Anachronism? The role of the National Institute of Houseworkers

AUTHOR(S)
Horn, Pamela
PUB. DATE
March 2001
SOURCE
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Spring2001, Vol. 66 Issue 1, p61
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article reexamines the role of the National Institute of Houseworkers (NIH), an organization created in 1964, designed to boost the status and recruitment of private domestic servants in Great Britain. As Dorothy Elliott, who chaired the NIH Board in its early years, put it, the scheme had two main aims: to turn out a domestic worker skilled in her craft; and to give to that worker a sense of confidence in herself as a member of the community, breaking down the idea that domestic workers are a race apart. To this end, a broad training program was adopted, combining general and health education with practical instruction in household skills so that students not only became efficient workers but good citizens who knew how to make good use of their leisure. The origins of the programme, however, can be traced to events which had occurred both before the Second World War and during its course. Although domestic service remained throughout the inter-war period the largest single employer of female labor, with 1.3 million women so occupied in 1931, it was widely regarded as an occupation of last resort for those who through economic adversity or other misfortune could not find anything better. Pressure was exerted on unemployed females to become servants both through the employment exchanges and through the instructional schemes promoted by the Central Committee on Women's Training and Employment (CCWTE) during the 1920s and 1930s.
ACCESSION #
6380407

 

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