Women’s work

For the women and young girls the major source of employment was found in the village shops or in the large houses and guest houses as housekeepers, maids, cleaners etc. As a young boy Bill Squires found work at the Cleave Hotel as a general “dogsbody” living in” six and a half days a week for five shillings. Two other female employees “lived in”. One was “a pretty, black-haired young girl” called Norah Hatherley. She was full of fun and looked quite stunning in her black dress and white apron. She was the general assistant and waitress for serving table”.

“I had to be down in that kitchen at 7 o’clock in a morning, clean the range out, clean the flues every morning, it was two flues we had, ’twas the double oven, and when you cleaned that fireplace, the range, you had to see your face in it, ’twas like silver when you’d cleaned it…I never used to go to bed till ten to half past and in the summer time when we had people in I was up about six and went to bed half past eleven because, we had to do everything, we had to clean the shoes of a morning, I had to bring all the shoes down…”
Mrs Norah Wright (nee Hatherley b.1914)

12lussa004-EditFrom the second half of the twentieth century, with the decline in farming and mining, the loss of the railway and the closing down of shops and businesses these opportunities for employment have either disappeared or are strictly limited. Many working people must now commute to Exeter or Plymouth or the neighbouring towns. With the modern advances in communication some people work from home, from where they can run their own businesses.