Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
         
Llanwrtyd and district
Victorian school days
 
  Going to town to find a job  
Drawing by
Rob Davies

These school Log Book entries show how important the "Hiring Fair" was to communities in country districts. These fairs were held in most towns twice a year, in May and in November. Usually held in the market square, they were a bit like a livestock market, except that it was work and not animals that was being traded !
People looking for jobs, including young school leavers, would meet with local employers including farmers and the agents for large estates belonging to the gentry of the district. Anyone hired as a "living in" servant for up to a year at an agreed sum of money would be legally obliged to stay in the job for that period.
Many were stuck with bad employers and terrible working conditions until the end of their 'contract'.

Hiring Fair
9th May
1884
School diary entry
14th November
1890
School diary entry
9th November
1894
School diary entry
 

These three entries are all from the the diary of Garth School for different years -
9th May 1884 - "Attendance very low, owing to the hiring fairs held in the surrounding towns"...
14th November 1890 - "Attendance not so good, owing to the Hiring Fair on Wednesday at Garth, and consequent change of servants".
9th November 1894 - "Monday next is the Garth Hiring Fair. School will be closed".
The hiring fairs brought large numbers into town for much of the Victorian period but this method of finding work became less important after the early 1900s.

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