Regina Jeffers shares her knowledge about positions of governess during the 1800’s. Have you ever considered being a governess or as we say these days, nanny?
A governess’s job was to teach the children of middle and upper class households in 19th Century England. By 1850, there were 21,000 governesses registered in England. In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, our heroine places the following advertisement, which eventually lands her the position at Thornhill Hall: A young lady accustomed to tuition is desirous of meeting with a situation in a private home where the children are under fourteen. She is qualified to teach the usual branches of a good English education, together with French, Drawing, and Music. The governess would remain in the household until the children departed for school or, in the case of young ladies, made her Come Out.
Being a governess was one of the few occupations considered suitable for middle-class girls to earn her a living. A governess was expected to have the education and manners of a genteel lady, but in the…
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