Occupation and employment - women


The majority of women listed in the 1911 Census did not have an occupation given. Of the 123 married women only five have one listed - three dressmakers, presumably working from home, the visiting midwife, and 25-year-old Norah Gennesson, who is listed as "assisting in [the] business" of her husband, a watchmaker and dealer born in France. Her widowed mother lived with them and may have taken care of the housework.

Of the 57 single women, only ten had no occupation given, and eight of them were daughters of the house, aged between 16 and 24. The remaining two were a thirty-seven-year old head of household, born in India, and possibly living on the pension of her father, the only other member of the household, whose occupation is given as "Civil engineer retired on pension from the government of Bengal", and a visitor. There were seven clerks, two in the Civil Service, one in the Post Office, one in advertising, one in insurance, one working for a surgical dressings manufacturer, and one unspecified, a shorthand typist, a typist in an insurance company, and three bookkeepers, one of whom worked for a butcher, and a Post Office telephone operator. There were the eight servants, discussed in more detail in the section on household structure, plus a head of household, aged sixty-seven, who lived alone and described herself as a lady's maid. There were nine dressmakers, one person engaged in art embroidery, four doing fancy needlework, a glover, a maker of plush toys and two milliners. Of the three shop assistants, one worked in a dyer's shop and one in a toy shop. There was a certificated maternity nurse, but only one person who worked in one of Acton's best known industries at the time, a packer and sorter in a laundry. Finally, there was an eighteen-year-old who was still at school, and one boarder who was described as having "private means".

One of the two, out of twelve, widows who have occupations listed was also a laundress, but she was a visitor, so may not have worked in Acton. The other was a boarding-house keeper, but she lived alone with her eight-year-old daughter, and had no boarders in her Alexandra Road house.

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How do the levels of employment in our area compare with the national picture? As the chart shows, slightly fewer women were employed than nationally, but there was a significant difference for single women. 77% were employed in our area, but only 54% nationally - possibly reflecting the wide range of opportunities available in London. For married women and widows, the numbers in employment were lower, but the numbers here are small, so the differences may not be significant.

Information about the way occupation data appears on the census form and was analysed can be found on the Occupations - men page.