Labour History Review

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

Labour History Review (2001), 66, (1), 61–78.

Abstract

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Dorothy M. Elliott, The Status of Domestic Work in the United Kingdom with Special Reference to the National Institute of Houseworkers, Geneva, 1951, p. 9. The National Institute of Houseworkers (NIH) was established under the Companies Act of 1929 as a company limited by guarantee and not having share capital. See details in the NIH file, MSS.292/54.76/62b, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick (hereafter cited as MRC) The Status of Domestic Work in the United Kingdom with Special Reference to the National Institute of Houseworkers 9 Google Scholar

Training Scheme for Houseworkers: National Institute of Houseworkers, n.d. [c.1947], Trades Union Congtess (TUC) Library, HD.6072 Google Scholar

Celia Briar, Working for Women? Gendered Work and Welfare Policies in Twentieth-Century Britain, London, 1997, pp. 56-8. Pamela Horn, Women in the 1920s, Stroud, 1995, pp. 86-7 Working for Women? Gendered Work and Welfare Policies in Twentieth-Century Britain 56 8 Google Scholar

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Report on the Post-War Organisation of Private Domestic Employment, Parliamentary Papers (PP) 1944-45, vol. V, p. 6 Google Scholar

Report on Post-War Organisation of Private Domestic Employment, pp. 7-8 Google Scholar

Report of the Ministry of labour and National Service (MLNS) for 1947, PP 1948-49, vol. XVII, pp. 73-5. Statement by the Minister of Labour and National Service, 7 February 1946, regarding the decision to set up the NIH on an ‘experimental basis’, in MSS.292/54.76/61, at MRC Google Scholar

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Report on Post-War Organisation of Private Domestic Employment, p. 7 Google Scholar

Helen Jones (ed.), Duty and Citizenship. The Correspondence and Papers of Violet Markham, 1896-1953, London, 1994, p. 177 Duty and Citizenship. The Correspondence and Papers of Violet Markham, 1896-1953 177 Google Scholar

Report on Post-War Organisation of Private Domestic Employment, p. 8 Google Scholar

See, for example, her letter to The Times, 13 January 1955 Google Scholar

Report of the Royal Commission on Population, Cmd. 7695, 1949, p. 183; Report on Post-War Organisation of Private Domestic Employment, p. 7 Google Scholar

Report on Post-War Organisation of Private Domestic Employment, p. 3 Google Scholar

TUC Annual Report, 1938, pp. 73, 97 and 101-2; ibid., 1939, pp. 138-40. See also Pamela Horn, ‘Training and Status in Domestic Service: The Role of the League of Skilled Housecraft, 1922-42’, History of Education Society Bulletin, 65, 2000, p. 40. Sheila Lewenhak, Women and Trade Unions. An Outline History of Women in the British Trade Union Movement, London, 1977, p. 230, includes a brief, not entirely satisfactory, account of the establishment of the National Union of Domestic Workers (NUDW) Google Scholar

Memorandum on Post-War Position of the Domestic Worker, produced by a sub-committee of domestic workers' and TUC Women's Advisory Committees in the records of NUDW, Minutes for 1943, MSS.292/54.76/57, MRC. According to a summary survey of the organisation of domestic workers produced in about 1947, the NUDW membership in 1943 was 269 (MSS.292/54.76/7, MRC) Google Scholar

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Jones (ed.), Duty and Citizenship, 186 Google Scholar

Elliott, Status of Domestic Work, p. 21 Google Scholar

Report on Post-War Organisation of Private Domestic Employment, p. 3 Google Scholar

Annual Report of the NIH, June 1949, p. 2, Markham MSS.12/10 Google Scholar

Elliott, Status of Domestic Work, pp. 17-19. Annual Reports of the MLNS, 1948, PP 1948-49, vol. XVII, pp. 46-7; ibid., 1949, PP 1950, vol. XII, p. 38 Google Scholar

Annual Report of the National Institute for Housecraft (Employment and Training) Limited for 1965-66, p. 12, LAB.70/62, PRO Google Scholar

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NIH, The Employer and the Worker in Private Domestic Work, n.d., MSS.292/54.76/61, MRC. Elliott, Status of Domestic Work, pp. 12-14 Google Scholar

Briar, Working for Women?, pp. 99-109, discusses the advances and the limitations of the female economic and social position in the 1950s Google Scholar

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Hansard, 5th Series, vol. 487, 27 April 1951, col. 803 Google Scholar

The Houseworker, September 1948, MSS.292/54.76/62a, MRC. See also The Houseworker, January 1948, commenting that the Oxford centre was the smallest of those established Google Scholar

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NIH, A Plan for the Girl Who Likes Homecraft, n.d. [c.1948], Markham MSS.12/10. The Houseworker, January 1948 Google Scholar

Annual Report of the MLNS, 1949, p. 38 Google Scholar

Elliott, Status of Domestic Work, p. 16 Google Scholar

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Elliott, Status of Domestic Work, p. 17 Google Scholar

‘Relationship between Employer and Worker’, NIH, The Employer and the Worker in Private Domestic Work Google Scholar

Annual Report of Ministry of Labour for 1960, PP 1960-61, vol. XVIII, p. 34 Google Scholar

The Times, 7 November 1952; David C. Marsh, The Changing Social Structure of England and Wales 1871-1961, London 1965 edn, pp. 136 and 147 Google Scholar

The Houseworker, May 1948 Google Scholar

The Houseworker, November 1948 Google Scholar

Carol Dyhouse, Girls Growing Up in Late Victorian and Edwardian England, London 1981, pp. 92-3. Pamela Sharpe (ed.), Women's Work. The English Experience 1650-1914, London 1998, p. 342 Girls Growing Up in Late Victorian and Edwardian England 92 3 Google Scholar

NIH, Report on the London County Council Home Help Service, n.d. [c.1949], Markham MSS. 12/10. Annual Report of the MLNS, 1949, p. 38 Google Scholar

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Hansard, 5th Series, vol. 487, 27 April 1951, cols 803-6. See also Dorothy Elliott, Report on the Cost of Training Students, 22 March 1949, MSS.292/54.76/62a. ‘Servant Scheme Waste of Money’, The Sunday Pictorial, 16 January 1949 Google Scholar

Hansard, 5th Series, vol. 509, 18 December 1952, written answers, col. 227 Google Scholar

‘Room for Economy’, Manchester Guardian, 26 September 1951. See also ‘The National Institute of Houseworkers’, Ministry of Labour Gazette, October 1951, which pointed out that in addition to giving training in its own centres, the Institute had agreed with the Girl Guides' Association that training for the diploma might be given at the Association's Homecraft Training Centre in Surrey Google Scholar

The Times, 10 July 1952 Google Scholar

The Times, 26 August 1952 Google Scholar

Annual Reports of the MLNS, 1952, PP 1952-53, vol. XIV, p. 39; ibid., 1953, PP 1953-54, vol. XVI, p. 39 Google Scholar

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NIH, Progress Report to 16 January, 1954, MSS.292/54.76/62b, MRC; Annual Report of the Ministry of Labour, 1960, PP 1960-61, vol. XVIII, p. 34 Google Scholar

Audrey Hunt and Judith Fox, The Home Help Service in England and Wales. A Survey on behalf of the Ministry of Health in 1967, SS. 407, 1970, pp. 3, 9-10. Annual Report for 1964-65 of the National Institute for Housecraft (Employment and Training) Limited, p. 13, TUC Library, HD. 6072 Google Scholar

Annual Report of the National Institute for Housecraft (Employment and Training) Limited for 1965-66, pp. 12-13, LAB.70/62, PRO. Report of the First National Conference of the NIH, 8 May 1951, MSS.292/54.76/62b, MRC Google Scholar

The Houseworker, May-June 1954 Google Scholar

The Houseworker, May-June 1954 Google Scholar

The Houseworker, September 1954 Google Scholar

Arthur Marwick, The Sixties. Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958-c.1974, Oxford, 1999, pp. 11, 67, 399-400 The Sixties. Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958-c.1974 11 Google Scholar

Report of the MLNS for 1939-1946, PP 1946-47, vol. XII, p. 209; Annual Report of the MLNS for 1947, p. 45. In 1955, 18,614 permits for private domestic service were issued. See Annual Report of the MLNS, 1955, PP 1955-56, vol. XXII, p. 28. After that date no distinction was made between private and other forms of domestic service Google Scholar

Annual Report of the National Institute for Housecraft (Employment and Training) Limited, 1964-65, p. 14 Google Scholar

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Annual Report of the NIH for 1956-57, pp. 3-4, TUC Library, HD. 6072 Google Scholar

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Annual Report of the Ministry of Labour for 1959, PP 1959-60, vol. XVII, p. 49 Google Scholar

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Annual Report of the National Institute for Housecraft for 1966-67 (TUC Library, HD.6072), pp. 7-12, detailed some of the courses then provided Google Scholar

For a discussion of the position in the 1980s see Nicky Gregson and Michelle Lowe, Servicing the Middle Classes. Class, gender and waged domestic labour in contemporary Britain, London, 1994, pp. 41-2 Google Scholar

Annual Report of the NIH for 1966-67, p. 10; Annual Report of the NIH for 1964-65, p. 6 Google Scholar

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Copy of an extract from Hansard, 9 December 1971, LAB.70/10, PRO. See also letter from Robert Carr, Secretary of State for Employment to Baroness White, 17 January 1972, LAB.70/11, PRO Google Scholar

Miss M. Brodie, Executive Director, NIH to Sir William Alexander, Association of Education Committees, 29 August 1972, LAB.70/11, PRO; Final Report to the Directors of the National Institute for Housecraft (Employment and Training) Limited, 19 September 1972, LAB.70/11, PRO Google Scholar

Copy of an extract from Hansard, 9 December 1971, LAB.70/10 Google Scholar

Dominic Byrne (ed.), Waiting for Change? Working in hotels and catering, Low Pay Pamphlet No. 42, 19 July 1986, p. 20 notes that low pay and poor conditions meant that turnover of staff aged sixteen to twenty-one was particularly high. In hotels and guest-houses it ran ‘at around 6 per cent of staff in one average month alone’. Low Pay Unit, The Low Paid and the Minimum Wage, vol. 3, n.d. [1999], p. 37, discusses pre-National Minimum Wage Training Policies, particularly for young people Google Scholar

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Horn, Pamela