Associated Homes and Cooperative Housekeeping

  • Lynn F. Pearson


Household work in the mid-nineteenth century was sheer drudgery. There was a great contrast between the highly mechanised, large-scale factory system of production and working methods of the home. Working-class women did all or most of the work themselves, as well as bringing up children and possibly doing paid work. Middle-class women certainly did some work in the home, the amount varying with the number of servants employed. Servants had to be supervised and children looked after, and although the availability of servants reduced the number of tasks to be performed by wives, there was a consequent decrease in family privacy. There were constant complaints about the quality of servants. The various utopian or religious schemes for changing home life provided partial answers to the household drudgery problem, but only for those people willing to change their lifestyles and convert to new doctrines. Conventional households looked for answers to current trends in society as they knew it.


Social History Household Work Communal Living Home Life Steam Engine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 2.
    For example in Davidoff, Leonore (1976), ‘The Rationalization of Housework’, pp. 121–51 in Dependence and Exploitation in Work and Marriage, eds, Barker, Diana Leonard and Allen, Sheila, Longman, London.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Taylor, Barbara (1983), Eve and the New Jerusalem, Virago, London, p. 79.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Helix (1849), ‘Human Progress’, Westminster Review, Oct, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 1–39. My thanks to Alison Ravetz for this reference. See note 1 above.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Gillies, Mary (1847), ‘Associated Homes for the Middle Class’, How-itťs Journal, 15 May, vol. 1, no. 20, pp. 270–3.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Gillies, Mary (1847), ‘Associated Homes for the Middle Class no. I’, Howitt’s Journal, 17 July, vol. 2, no. 29, pp. 38–41. See alsoGoogle Scholar
  6. Barmby, Goodwyn (1847), ‘United Service Family Associations’, Howitt’s Journal, 19 June, vol. 1, no. 25, pp. 344–5.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Tarn, J. N. (1973), Five per cent Philanthropy, CUP, Cambridge, pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Poor Law Commissioners (1842), Inquiry into the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain (Chadwick Report), HMSO, London. Section III; ‘The Want of Separate Apartments and Overcrowding of Private Dwellings’.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Tarn, J. N. (1974), ‘French Flats for the English in Nineteenth-century London’, pp. 19–40 in Anthony Sutcliffe (ed.), Multi-storey Living, Croom Helm, London, p. 25.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    Smith, T. Roger and White, W. H. (1876), ‘Model Dwellings for the Rich’, Journal of the Society of Arts, 31 March, vol. 24, no. 1219, pp. 456–66. See pp. 463–4.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    Eales, F. E. (1884), ‘Houses in Flats’, The Builder, 8 Mar, vol. 46, no. 2144, pp. 351–3. See p. 351.Google Scholar
  12. 16.
    Martineau, Harriet (1850), ‘Associated Homes for Poor Ladies’, The Leader, 19 Oct, vol. 1, no. 30, p. 711.Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    E. F. L. (1850), The Ladies’ Club Mansion, E. T. Jeffryes, London. Harriet Martineau Papers, University of Birmingham, HM 1367, dated 16 March 1850.Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    Martineau, Harriet (1983), Autobiography, vol. II, Virago, London, p. 228. First pub. Smith, Elder, London, 1877.Google Scholar
  15. 19.
    Callen, Anthea (1980), Women in the Arts and Crafts Movement 1870–1914, Astragal Books, London, pp. 42, 171.Google Scholar
  16. 20.
    Martineau, Autobiography, vol. II, pp. 225, 306–8. Pichanick, Valerie Kossew (1980), Harriet Martineau, The Woman and Her Work, 1802–76, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, p. 139.Google Scholar
  17. 21.
    The plan of Harriet Martineau’s house, The Knoll, Ambleside, is in the Harriet Martineau Papers, University of Birmingham, HM 1302. The house still stands. In contrast to Martineau’s conventional house design, Catharine Beecher, the American writer on domestic subjects, planned a highly efficient ‘Christian’ house in 1841. She designed both building and furniture to be lavour-saving, concentrating particularly on storage areas and the kitchen. See Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe (1869), The American Woman’s Home, J. B. Ford, NY; rep. 1971, Arno Press, NY. The house design was originally published in Beecher’s Treatise on Domestic Economy in 1841; seeGoogle Scholar
  18. Sklar, Kathryn Kish (1973), Catharine Beecher, A Study in American Domesticity, Yale University Press, New Haven, pp. 151, 263. Beecher also suggested an improved neighbourhood, to include a common laundry and a bake house ‘for all desiring economy of time, labour and money in these directions’. See p. 575 ofGoogle Scholar
  19. Catharine E. Beecher (1867), ‘A Christian Neighbourhood’, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, April, vol. 34, pp. 573–84.Google Scholar
  20. 27.
    Backstrom, Philip N. (1974), Christian Socialism and Co-operation in Victorian England, Croom Helm, London, p. 143.Google Scholar
  21. 29.
    The Co-Operator (1869), ‘Co-operative Housekeeping’, 28 Aug, p. 613; Hayden, Dolores (1981), The Grand Domestic Revolution, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., p. 82.Google Scholar
  22. 31.
    For details of Peirce’s life, see Hayden, Grand Domestic Revolution, pp. 67–89, and on her early life, Mitarachi, Sylvia (1980), Melusina Fay Peirce: Biography of a Feminist, Bunting Institute Working Paper, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  23. 33.
    Peirce, Mrs C. F. (1870), Co-operative Housekeeping, Romance in Domestic Economy, Simpkin, Marshall and Co., London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lynn F. Pearson 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn F. Pearson
    • 1
  1. 1.Whitley BayUK

Personalised recommendations