Daisy MEEK 6/4/1892 - why work in service in London ? (Urgent)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Monday, January 01, 2024, 18:00 (106 days ago) @ MARTINDWIL

Hi,
interesting to see your Grandmother Daisy was in service in London, and your wondering how she got her job there ?.
My own paternal Grandmother Gert TAYLOR was born in Joys Green in 1898, lived there all her 80 years, with close links to nearby Ruardean. Growing-up I knew my Gran very well, but had no idea she had so many younger siblings, until my own family history researches a decade ago showed she had nine siblings spanning 25 birth years !. This was all news to my Mum, as sadly my Dad was long dead so no help there, as was my Gran of course. One of the siblings was Maud, born in Joys Green in 1894. I only met her once, as a visitor to our home in the 70s, a family wedding maybe ?. We assumed she'd lived most her life in London, indeed my mother (rather oddly) even wondered if the whole family were originally from there !. When I started my FH researches and working "blind" it took me a while to find her in the 1911 census, but I eventually found her working in service in Ealing West London aged 17, and I then found she never married and had died in south London in 1981, which fitted nicely. I then noticed that another young girl from "the Forest of Dean" was also on the staff in that same Ealing household during that 1911 census; I guess they both moved-up there together as friends, but I'm yet to followed-up her subsequent life, I believe she was also a Ruardean girl.
Moving on to research Maud (and so my Gran)'s sisters, I first found Hilda born 1892, at the time of the 1911 census she's still at home in Joys Green, but listed as a "house and parlour maid", which seems grand wording given their humble home... I then found she married just 3 years later, but to a London man, in Ealing !, no doubt Maud was there too ! I wonder if she'd met her husband while also working in Ealing as a "parlour maid"..... perhaps she was just visiting home at the 1911 census ?. She also ended her days in South London, where my Mum eventually recalled once visiting them for a day in the 70s.. so the mystery started to come together.
I then researched an older sister, Eliza born 1892, and found she was working in service in Ross in 1891, nothing odd there. But, after a long search of the 1901 census I eventually found an Eliza Taylor, "born Forest of Dean, aged 25", working in service in London, a good fit - could this be our Eliza ??. She was definitely back in Ruardean by the 1911 census, but I do wonder if she was the catalyst for her two younger sisters, and another local girl, all moving to London for work. They presumably went there thro Bristol on the GWR.

Sorry this has turned into a bit of an essay, I hope it's of interest and makes sense, it was certainly a surprising eye-opener for me as the story unravelled - especially as I've lived and worked in west London since the 1980s, I know Ealing very well, and we all thought I was the first in our immediate family to leave the Forest for work haha !. My reason for telling you all this is just to confirm your findings with Daisy, that it wasn't at all unusual for Ruardean area girls of her generation to find jobs up the GWR line in West London. Was there an agency as you say ?. I suspect there may have been adverts in the local newspapers, not that I've actually searched and found them.... (I will now). Or maybe it was "word of mouth", there were some wealthy households within the Lower Lydbrook and Wye valley area, possibly retired Londoners ?. Also in Lydbrook the cable works had opened around that time, and grew dramatically during the 1914-18 war, during which time their business would have meant increased links with London... ?
Finally, probably not relevant as the MEEK name is quite common in the Ruardean area, but I have a fair number of Ruardean Meeks in my own family tree courtesy of my Taylor line.

Atb and Happy 2024 everyone !


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