Wednesday, August 1

Definition: Scullery Maid

So what exactly does a Scullery Maid do?

According to the dictionary, the word "Scullery" comes from :

"Old French escuelerie, from escuelier, keeper of dishes, from escuele, dish, from Vulgar Latin *sctella, alteration (influenced by sctum, shield) of Latin scutella, salver, diminutive of scutra, platter."

Scullery maids were the lowest ranking of the female servants. They had the most physical and demanding tasks in the kitchen. Being at the bottom of the servant hierarchy meant they were mocked and ridiculed by upper servants and completely ignored by members of the household.

Duties included, cleaning the floor, stoves, sinks, pots, pans and dishes. They would rarely handle the fine china due to the expense if they were damaged. They were sometimes expected to collect water and empty females servants chamber pots.

They worked from 6.00am in the morning to 11.30pm at night with poor wages to compensate them. All this for £13.00 per year (about $26.00 per year)

If the household was not wealthy enough to employ a junior parlour maid and a scullery maid, they may employ a ‘tweeny’. They were nicknamed 'tweenies' because they worked 'between stairs' in the basement helping the cook or upstairs in the family rooms with the parlour-maid. She would usually get a Sunday afternoon off but was expected to attend church in that time. She would get one week's holiday a year.


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