At the turn of the 20th century over a million women were in domestic service. The work was physically hard with long hours and poor wages. Girls started in service as young as twelve and would stay in service until they married. These girls would have come from the working classes and its unusual for clothing to survive from these women because they would have seen so much toil in their working lives.
This dress is one of two domestic service dresses kept in the collection at Preston Park Museum and Grounds. It’s a heavy garment made from red and white striped cotton twill, a robust material made to take lots of wear and tear. It has 6 pearl buttons down the front with a high neck fastening.