Author Topic: Female bricklayer in 1851?  (Read 1357 times)

Offline CV-S

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Female bricklayer in 1851?
« on: Tuesday 28 January 14 00:14 GMT (UK) »
Hi,

In the 1851 census my ancestor is living with her second husband, who is a bricklayer. Under "occupation" she is dittoed. I have seen "ditto wife" etc. before but she is just plain ditto, showing clearly the same occupation as her husband, ie bricklayer.
However, surely this can't be right. She was in her thirties with several children, plus appears to have been running a travellers lodging house at the time, but most of all surely back then this was considered entirely a man's job.

Maybe the enumerator just neglected to write "wife" or just mistakenly wrote ditto. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Female bricklayer in 1851?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 28 January 14 00:19 GMT (UK) »
Definitely a ditto too much.  Probably should read Bricklayers wife
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Offline maggbill

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Re: Female bricklayer in 1851?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 28 January 14 00:37 GMT (UK) »
I'm not an expert, but I have this memory of having seen a painting of young women in the mid 1800's working at collieries - on the surface, - pushing and loading trollies etc - heavy labouring work, so is there a vague possibility your female ancestor could have truly been "labouring"??  Where was her husband employed as a bricklayer?
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Offline sami

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Re: Female bricklayer in 1851?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 28 January 14 01:36 GMT (UK) »
Hi CV-S:

I'm not disputing whether or not an error was made on the census but this is an interesting paper on women in the building trades.

Clarke, Linda, and Christine Wall. "Omitted from history: Women in the Building Trades'." Proceedings of die Second International Congress on Construction History. Vol. 1. 2006.

http://www.rootschat.com/links/0xsz/

Haven't read the complete paper but this excerpt at the bottom of page 37 stands out:

"As a result in the southern counties of England between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, as Snell discovered, 34% of parish apprentices were girls, who were apprenticed in 51 occupations including as bricklayers, carpenters, joiners and shipwrights (Snell 1985, 278). They normally completed and practised their trade and were especially numerous in the eighteenth century."

sami
England:  Archer, Bailey, Bates, Blower, Bosworth, Court, Hicklin, Orton, Palmer, Robbins, Sedgwick, Smith, Stevenson, Stone, Varnam, Wakelin, Walker
Canada:  Archer, Walker, Spencer, Shepherd
Australia:  Taplin
South Africa:  Risley


Offline CV-S

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Re: Female bricklayer in 1851?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 28 January 14 07:27 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for your replies and opinions.
I think it's most likely just an error in this case, given the circumstances of a young family, working husband, running the lodging house and not having an occupation listed in the other censuses. (also unfortunately I don't know where her husband worked)

However, what an eye-opener to read about women working in such manual jobs so long ago. Definitely very surprising.

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Female bricklayer in 1851?
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 28 January 14 08:50 GMT (UK) »
I'm not an expert, but I have this memory of having seen a painting of young women in the mid 1800's working at collieries - on the surface, - pushing and loading trollies etc

See "Women and the Pits" http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~stenhouse/coal/pbl/coalmain.htm

Stan
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Offline behindthefrogs

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Re: Female bricklayer in 1851?
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 30 January 14 13:33 GMT (UK) »
In 1850 the term bricklayer had a much wider meaning than it has today.  It encompassed what we would now call a builder and included  some of the functions we would today attribute to an architect.

At that time one of my ancestors was a bricklayer at the gunpowder factory at Waltham Abbey.  Subsequent research proved him to be the second most important person on the site, with only the manager senior to him.
Living in Berkshire from Northampton & Milton Keynes
DETAILS OF MY NAMES ARE IN SURNAME INTERESTS, LINK AT FOOT OF PAGE
Wilson, Higgs, Buswell, PARCELL, Matthews, TAMKIN, Seckington, Pates, Coupland, Webb, Arthur, MAYNARD, Caves, Norman, Winch, Culverhouse, Drakeley.
Johnson, Routledge, SHIRT, SAICH, Mills, SAUNDERS, EDLIN, Perry, Vickers, Pakeman, Griffiths, Marston, Turner, Child, Sheen, Gray, Woolhouse, Stevens, Batchelor
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Offline sallyyorks

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Re: Female bricklayer in 1851?
« Reply #7 on: Friday 31 January 14 17:35 GMT (UK) »
Hi CV-S:

I'm not disputing whether or not an error was made on the census but this is an interesting paper on women in the building trades.

Clarke, Linda, and Christine Wall. "Omitted from history: Women in the Building Trades'." Proceedings of die Second International Congress on Construction History. Vol. 1. 2006.

http://www.rootschat.com/links/0xsz/

Haven't read the complete paper but this excerpt at the bottom of page 37 stands out:

"As a result in the southern counties of England between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, as Snell discovered, 34% of parish apprentices were girls, who were apprenticed in 51 occupations including as bricklayers, carpenters, joiners and shipwrights (Snell 1985, 278). They normally completed and practised their trade and were especially numerous in the eighteenth century."

sami

How interesting
Yes a lot of women, and children,  worked in heavy industry as others have said . There are a lot of drawings and photos of women colliery labourers in the Lancashire coal fields online.

Here is a drawing of brickmakers, including a woman,  in Britain 1858