Victorian Powys for primary  schools
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Llanfyllin and district
The Union Workhouse
 
  A child servant from the workhouse  
 

As well as packing very young children off to local tradesmen as apprentices, the Board of Guardians at Llanfyllin workhouse also arranged for some of them to go straight to work as servants to the wealthier people of the district. This was called 'going into service', and there were jobs for boys and girls.
Most Victorian schools had regular sewing lessons for girls to prepare them for domestic service, which was one of very few jobs open to them at that time.
These typical examples are from the Llanfyllin workhouse records from 1872 and 1874, and they show that two 'pauper' children were to be sent to local employers for a trial period to see how well they worked.

Victorian servant
13th August
1872
Minute book entry
12th February
1874
Minute book entry
 

These two entries from the Minute Book read -
13th August 1872 - "Richard Hughes a pauper child belonging to this Union was allowed to go to the Service of Mrs Mary Jones of Llangadfan on trial for a month".
12th February 1874 - "Resolved that Mrs Jones of Penybryn, Llanfyllin be allowed to have a pauper child named Mary Ann Date in minute bookBates on trial for a fortnight".

These decisions sound terrible these days - imagine sending off a child of just 9 or 10 to live with and work for a local household on a trial basis ! If the employer didn't like the child they could probably ask for another one instead !
On 'going into service' many young girls would work as maids, and have to do clothes washing, cleaning and lighting fires, scrubbing floors, dusting, serving food, and many other jobs. They had to start work very early, had none of the machines we have now, and were paid next to nothing.

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The 1871 Census
for Llanfyllin
workhouse shows
that Richard Hughes
was only 8 years
old then ! So he was
sent out to work in
1872 at just
9 years of age !
--------
Mary Ann Bates
was not living in
the workhouse at
the time of the
1871 census.
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