‘Downton Abbey’ roles like household cooks, maids, housekeepers and servants made up more than a third of advertised jobs 100 years ago, reveals research by online CV builder Resume.io.
In one newspaper from 1920, out of 61 ‘situations vacant’ adverts, there were six positions for household cooks like Mrs Patmore, played by Lesley Nicol in Downton Abbey, 11 requests for maids like Gwen Dawson (Rose Leslie), and three roles for child-minders like Nanny West (Di Botcher).
The domestic help sector was one of the country’s biggest employers in 1920. In 1870, a quarter of advertised roles (25%) were for housekeepers, nannies, household cooks and servants, rising to a third (35%) in 1920.
Changes in society brought about by World War II saw this proportion plummet to 6% in 1970 and similar jobs make up only 2% of roles now.
Many of the jobs advertised in 1870 and 1920 no longer exist, with evocative roles such as chandelier burnisher, milliner (a hat maker), billiard room attendant, lift attendant, wig consultant, gun polisher and whalebone rosette maker painting a picture of a world long lost to us.