Comparing between the working class and the middle class
In this section I will be comparing between the working class and the middle class. I will also be looking into the comparisons within the classes. Finally I will be showing evidence that the gap is closing between the classes.
The following will also explain the vast differences between the home of Mr Jones the dentist, which is top of the middle class, and the Widow, which is the bottom of the working class. Mr Jones lives in 4 Ravensworth Terrace and the Widow lives in 4 Francis Street
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Mr Jones’s house was situated opposite to the park and near to the town. This was useful for work, because he owned 2 houses. One of them was his living house and the other was his dentistry house. On the other side of the museum there was the colliery village. There was a row of pit cottages here. In number 4 lived the Widow with her 2 children. The house was near the pit; this meant that the air was dusty, smoky and murky. This was also a noisy place to live, all because of one thing, the pit. The pit owned the pit cottages; these were for the families of the pit workers. They were also given free coal for working in the mine. This is a big difference to Mr Jones. He owned both of his houses. This shows that Mr Jones had a beautiful surrounding to his house and that the widow was worse off.
Mr Jones lived in a house with a ground floor, first floor and an attic. On the ground floor is where Mr Jones’s kitchen, living room and utility room were. On the first floor there was a master bedroom, the bathroom and a nursery. In the attic lived the maid. This is because the Jones’s were more important. Outside they had a privy that only the maid used and a coal shed. This is compared to the widow’s bungalow, which had a kitchen, living room/bedroom and an attic.
In the widow’s house there were several uses for the rooms. The front room was used for sleeping and entertaining visitors. This would only be used on special occasions like Christmas or weddings. The kitchen was used for cooking, cleaning, sleeping, bathing and drying clothes. The loft was one room, which was where the children slept.
Mr Jones’s house is totally different. His kitchen was used purely for cooking and cleaning, the bathroom for sanitation etc. So where as the widow’s house was compact Mr Jones’s house was spacious.
The gardens for Francis Street were large. This is because they needed to grow fruit and vegetables, because they could not afford to buy fresh produce. On the other hand Mr Jones had a small garden because he could afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables each day. In his garden he was able to grow flowers and shrubs.
The sanitation of the houses was different. The widow’s toilet was an ash pit privy outside. For toilet paper they used newspaper cut into squares. Mr Jones’s was very different. He had a plumbed in bathroom with shower, bath, sink and flushing toilet. They also had an outside privy, which was purely used by the maid. The plumbed in bathroom was for family only. This is compared to the widow who had a tin bath hanging on the wall outside and had a cold-water tap in the utility room. Mr Jones was totally different because he had hot and cold taps inside and a plumbed in bath too.
In the widow’s house there was only candle light, she also had a fire lit 24 hours a day, six days a week, 365 days a year. The reason for the fire not being on for 7 days a week was so that the family could clean it. This provided heat to cook on and boiled water. It also lights up the kitchen and also heats the house up. Mr Jones on the other hand had electric lighting in every room with electric heaters. He only had one need for an open fire because he needed it for appearances and heating. He also had a cooker fire, which was used for cooking.
This shows the vast differences between the top of the middle class and the bottom of the working class.
I am comparing 2 and 4 Francis Street. In number 2 lived The Methodist family, and in number 4 lived the Widow. I will explore the main differences between each. The families were both working class and lived in pit cottages. There were a lot of differences between them.
Firstly I will be explaining the bedding, which each family had. In both houses they had 3 beds. One in the front room, one in the attic and one in the kitchen. In the widows house 1 child would sleep in the kitchen, the other child would sleep in the loft and the widow would sleep in the double bed in the front room. This was the same for the Methodist Family, except that the Mum and Dad would have slept in the front room.
In the widows house she had thin sheets in the kitchen, because of the heat from the fire. The bed in the loft would have thin sheets too; this is because they had an open chimney. The bed in the front room would have a homemade quilt and she had hooky mats for extra warmth. This is compared to the Methodist’s, their beds in the kitchen and loft would be the same, but the bed in the front room would have a thick white duvet. This showed wealth, because after the miners came home from work they would be covered in coal dust, so their covers will get dirty more often.
Now I will extract the differences between the furniture of each house. The widow had a brass double bed; this was the cheapest at the time, a sofa, and a table; with floor mats as a tablecloth. This shows that the widow didn’t have enough money to buy new objects. This is compared to the Methodist’s. I will start with their half-tester bed; this was a bed, which had 2 posts with cloth draped over the top. They had a chest with a showcase with pottery and books on show, also a couple of tables with tablecloths, a rocking chair and a fireplace. This shows that they have more money to spend on luxuries. There is a huge difference in the furniture.
Now I will look into the different floors in each house. In the widow’s house she had stone floors with a lot of hooky mats. These were all different because the family did not have enough money to afford carpets. Now I will look at the Methodist family. They had fitted carpets and carpets up the stairs. This shows the family is well off because they could afford the carpets to be fitted.
Now I will evaluate the differences in lighting in each house. The widow has oil lamps; the only problem was that she could not afford to use them. Instead they had to use candles. They could not afford oil because they barely had enough money to get by. This is compared with the Methodist family. They too had oil lamps; they used their oil lamps regularly. This shows they had money to spend.
Looking at the income of each household, the widow had to work for extra income just to get by together with the low income from her two mining sons. She made her extra income by making and selling hooky and proggy mats, organising a quilting club in her home where other working class women sat around the fire and made quilts for a small charge. She also took in washing from other people, which added to her income. This compared to the Methodist family who had adequate money from the husband and children who worked down the pit. They needed no extra income to add to their wages.
All the information above shows that even though the Methodist family and the widow are in the same social class their lives are totally different.
In the next section I will be explaining how different Mr Jones’s houses were to Miss Smith’s house. Even though they are both in the same class their homes were very different. Mr Jones lives at 4 Ravensworth Terrace and a couple of doors down lived Miss Smith at No 2.
First I will be explaining where each houses money came from. Miss Smith’s money came from her music teaching. She charged 6d per half hour. This is 2 1/2 pence in today’s currency. Whereas the dentist, Mr Jones, charged 15 shillings for a filling; ï¿½1 7s 6d for a false tooth; and ï¿½10 10s (10 guinea) for a full set of false teeth. This shows the huge difference in one days work.
The difference between both heating and cooking in each household are that in Mr Jones’s house he had a gas cooker and a fire range. For heating he had electric heaters around the home. This is being compared to Miss Smith’s home where she had an open fire in the front room and her bedroom. This would only be lit if she were ill in bed. Her maid cooked on a coal fire range in the kitchen.
The lighting in each house varied because Mr Jones had electric lighting in each room throughout each of his houses. This shows that he was wealthy because he could afford to have this installed. This is compared to Miss Smith who only used oil lamps through her house.
The sanitation which each house had was different because Mr Jones had a fully plumbed in bath, flushing toilet and shower in the bathroom as well hot and cold water taps. He also had an outside toilet, which only the maid used. This is a vast difference to Miss Smith. She had an outside toilet and a tin bath hanging from the outside wall. They brought this in front of the fire range. For the morning wash the maid would fetch a hot bowel of water to each bedroom.
Mr Jones had several stained glass windows, a gramophone and a nursery for the children. This is compared with Miss Smith’s luxuries, which were 7-1/2 octaves piano, carpets fitted up the stairs, biblical plaque readings and a stained glass window.
The next comparison area is the servants in each house. Miss Smith had a level maid. This means that the maid lived on the same floor was her. Miss Smith’s maid used the same washing and sanitation as herself. This is compared to the maid of Mr Jones. He had a maid, which slept in the attic and could not wash or use his plumbed in bathroom. She had to use a tin bath and the outside toilet.
Even though they were in the same social category there were a lot of differences between them.
I have explained earlier the vast differences between the top of the middle class (Mr Jones) and the bottom of the working class (the widow). Also I have explained the differences between the two working class houses and the homes of the two middle class houses. I will be looking in more depth between the middle class home of Miss Smith and the working class home of the Methodist family and finding similarities.
For example both houses were of Victorian dï¿½cor. This was dark colours, dark fabrics for curtains and drapes and bold wallpaper. This was unusual because in 1913 the most common dï¿½cor was Georgian.
In each of the houses there was a coal fire, this was the heat source for both. This was also used as the method of cooking. They both had fitted carpets up the stairs and around the house. Their ornaments and pictures were also very similar. Each house had two matching china dogs and several portraits of the Royal Family of the time.
The lighting for each house was oil lamps. Unlike the widow both families could afford to use it, but they could not afford electricity. The similarities of sanitation were that each house would have a tin bath, cold tap and an outside toilet.
From the information I have gathered and presented I have found a hierarchy of families. They are:
* Mr Jones the dentist
* Miss Smith the music teacher
* Methodist family
* The Widow
Miss Smith could not live like Mr Jones because she had something called “old money”. This is money, which she inherited when her parents passed away, whilst Mr Jones had “new money”. This is money, which he had earned. Mr Jones had a constant supply of money from work whereas Miss Smith’s money would eventually decrease.
The widow could not afford to live in the same condition as the Methodist family because she only had her sons bringing in wages from the pit. If her husband were still alive she would be able to live more like the Methodist family.
So, I think that the gaps between the classes were closing at this period of time. This is because their houses were very similar. Their style of decoration, heat, light etc was of the same standards.