Age of Reason
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Servants in the Eighteenth Century

Tatiana Dokuchic
@tatiana-dokuchic
one month ago
1,809 posts

Servants

"For a large part of the period from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century, servants were ubiquitous throughout Europe. The largest concentrations were in the cities and towns, but servants were also found in rural villages and on farms. In rural France, for example, between 2 and 12 percent of the population was in service (Hufton, 1993). It constituted the biggest employment after agriculture. Indeed the smaller proportion of servants in France and Germany as compared with Britain was the result of a larger number of women still working in agriculture. Thus, servants formed a significant occupational group in Europe."

"Given that such a sizable proportion of the population of European countries was in service, one must ask why. Where did the demand for servants originate? Where did servants come from and why did they choose (if "choose" is the appropriate word) service as an occupation?"




--
Proprietress of Tatiana's Tea Room ~ Co-owner of the Duché de Coeur ~ Webmistress of this site

updated by @tatiana-dokuchic: 19 Aug 2020 04:49:28AM
Una Lunaqat
@una-lunaqat
one month ago
48 posts

When I was trying to decide what servants I could refer to at my farm (who did I sent to deliver perfume orders for example) and what servants might I have in a small farm estate, I'd run across this list of servants .  I chose a small household staff from among these listed.  Maybe it's useful to others. 




--
Una (Unalunaqat Resident)
Madame D'Qat
Ferme sur Mer (Sea View Farm), Queen's Hamlet
Villa Toscana,LL, Rocca Sorrentina
Abbondio Rezzonico
@abbondio-rezzonico
one month ago
34 posts

Tatiana Dokuchic:

"Given that such a sizable proportion of the population of European countries was in service, one must ask why. Where did the demand for servants originate? Where did servants come from and why did they choose (if "choose" is the appropriate word) service as an occupation?"

Servants have always been around, but since the Renaissance in the south, and the upheaval of religion and war in the north of Europa in the 15th/16th century - the general European tradinig economies took such flights forward, that new middle, upper-middle, and upper classes arose. Before then - generalizing, of course - it was paupers and nobles, there wasn't much middle. During the 17th and 18th centuries they formed a new layer in society and established themselves firmly as the vital link between the lower menial classes and the upper owning classes. This wide class stretched from independent artisans and skilled labourers to those working in the vastly developing bureaucratic systems as well as entrepreneurs/merchants. Hiring from below, making money from above. As they themselves became more affluent and were even able to retire comfortably, mimicking the upper classes, they started hiring. The big rise in 'service' as this new economic entity that became so important for daily runnings of everything stems from those days. The Industrialization shook things up a bit, making the differences harsher again between the classes, which lasted through the 19th century. Service was then often a 'way out' of poverty, in a respectable position. The 20th century with its two major wars gradually ended it all between the 1910s an 1950s, where people did no longer use service to cut out a proper career for themselves; there were new opportunities.

That's my two pennies over morning coffee :p




--
Abbondio Rezzonico
Banker, Merchant & Vintner
@ Rocca Sorrentina