A great domestic movement is in agitation,
which, it is expected, will convulse the social fabric from the area upwards,
and shake our households, not only to their centres, but to the very top of
our chimney-pots, our weathercocks, and our cowls. The contemplated measure is a
demand on the part of our domestic servants for a general early closing of all
private houses at eight o'clock, so that after that hour the cooks,
housemaids, nurserymaids, and others in our establishments may go forth in
search of moral and intellectual recreation in the open air. It is argued, and
with a considerable show of justice, that after cooking our dinners, and washing
up our tea-things, the female servant has a right to go and get her mind
cultivated, and her tastes elevated, or, as it were, put in soak in the fountain
of the Muses, to be rinsed, and send forth its gushings when fitting opportunity
The Domestic Early Closing Movement will entail on the masters the necessity of limiting their wants, and allowing none to extend beyond eight p.m., which it is contended will be found quite long enough for all reasonable purposes.
The moral and intellectual training will generally be commenced by the policeman on the beat, but as boldness increases, the domestic servant may venture to improve her mind at some of the harmonic meetings in the neighbourhood of her master's residence. Adjacent barracks will be particularly sought after for the culture which it is the object of the Female Servants' Early Closing Movement to obtain.
George Cruikshank, Comic Almanack 2nd Series, 1844-53
see also Charles Manby Smith in The Little World of London (on Sunday leave) - click here