There are several reasons why there was a great demand for servants in Victorian times.
Whilst many did languish in poverty there was a growing number of very wealthy people.
Thousands of new factories were helping to produce more goods in greater quantities than ever. Thanks to the railways, and steam-powered sailing ships, these goods could be sold across the world. This increased demand made many families very rich indeed.
This meant more people could afford to employ servants to help manage their homes.
Due to improvements in healthcare and medicine, people lived longer than ever. The population increased by well over 10 million people during the 1800s.
Although these benefits would take longer to affect poor families, it helped wealthy families to have more children, and these families would choose much larger houses in which to comfortably live.
Whereas poor families might still all live in one room, in cramped houses on dirty streets, a large rich family might enjoy living in a huge new house with several floors and many bedrooms.
Villages and towns became much bigger as more and more houses were built, many of which were very grand indeed. It would take lots of servants to keep the house in good order, so there was plenty of work in domestic service for those who wanted it.
Also having servants was a way of showing other people how rich and important you were and so if you had lots of money you might choose to have servants, even if you didn’t need them!
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