CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:03 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:42 pm
In 1939?
Its a genuine question tbh, when did it become widespread usage?
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:02 pm

I did the google search "when was housewife first used" and two adjoining hits said "in 1950s", and in "13th century". Separately, "Chambers 20th Century Dictionary (1901)" (so they were quick off the mark) mentions it. So unless we ask the Oxford Dictionary people, we really don't know.

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by Gerard Killoran » Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:27 pm

Book advertisement from The Ipswich Journal - Saturday 08 July 1727.
Ipswich Journal - Saturday 08 July 1727.png
Ipswich Journal - Saturday 08 July 1727.png (213.89 KiB) Viewed 833 times

I got 12,851 hits for 'Housewife' in 1939 on the British Newspaper Archive.

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John Saunders
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by John Saunders » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:03 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:24 pm
Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:12 am
To elaborate slightly, the census wanted to collect data on who lived where, and what they did. As married women rarely went out to paid work, (though obviously keeping a house running and looking after children is time-consuming and hard work), but the census had to say something.
Why not just say "Housewife"?
Because the person referred to was not necessarily married to anyone else in the household - the person might be the wife, mother, sister, etc, of the householder, or might herself be the head of the household. The full phrase is "unpaid domestic duties" (the final word can just be discerned in the scan posted earlier) and it was the stock phrase used in the 1939 census to describe women within a household who didn't do paid work (servants appeared in a different category: "paid domestic duties").

Before anyone accuses me of sexism, I have never seen it used for unemployed adult males in the 1939 census in many searches through this census, though I would not entirely rule out the possibility. In an interesting Guardian article published a few years ago, it tells us that 'unpaid domestic duties' was by far the most common entry in the 'occupation' field on the 1939 census form for women - 9.3 million altogether (out of a total of 22 million women). It doesn't appear in the equivalent list of top ten male occupations, which is topped by "retired" (presumably since a huge number of younger men had already been called up and don't appear at all).
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John Clarke
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by John Clarke » Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:37 pm

Well, I got that well wrong about Mrs Alexander! But it seems to have sparked off another interesting discussion.
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NickFaulks
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:46 pm

We haven't even got started on whether "Drapery Manager" is still a thing.
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Paul Cooksey
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:58 pm

Home Furnishings and Accessories might be nearest equivalent now.

I imagine Drapery was a more substantial investment relative to income at that time. Certainly "Manager" tended to more senior than it is now, after subsequent job title inflation. So if there was an implication that Alexander had a less important job than the one previously assumed, that is maybe not correct.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri May 01, 2020 11:57 am

Sounds like it would have mostly involved curtains and upholstery, rather than clothes fabrics, but maybe some published sources go into more detail? Might archives held by John Lewis have more for those curious about this?

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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by Tim Harding » Fri May 01, 2020 12:36 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 11:57 am
Might archives held by John Lewis have more for those curious about this?
Very unlikely because, as I hinted above, the whole store was burned out in the Blitz. There was a very graphic photograph in Chess magazine at the time.
So unless personnel records were stored elsewhere you will not find anything,
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John McKenna
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by John McKenna » Fri May 01, 2020 1:10 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:58 pm
Home Furnishings and Accessories might be nearest equivalent now.

I imagine Drapery was a more substantial investment relative to income at that time. Certainly "Manager" tended to more senior than it is now, after subsequent job title inflation. So if there was an implication that Alexander had a less important job than the one previously assumed, that is maybe not correct.
There's always been a hugely expensive higher end to the furnishings & fabrics market.

Look at what the former Speaker of the House of Commons racked up at taxpayers' expense to keep himself in the luxury he and his successors are accustomed to.

The high end of the wallpaper business seems to need some public funds to keep going now, though.
The family business of George Osborne, the former chancellor, has taken advantage of both the government’s coronavirus loan and staff furlough schemes.
Victoria Beckham has had to back down on trying to furlough staff at public expense in her fashion business. Therefore I can't see Sam Cam trying to access the public purse if she's still operating in that world.

Bottles of Bolinger delivered at No. 10 for some happy event or other the other day. (Meanwhile as I predicted the old, poor and sick are dropping like flies.)

Ian Fleming could have used a cover-id (nothing to do with the virus) of "Drapery Dept. Manager" for Commander Bond.

[Always preferred Harry Palmer in the fictional spy dept. He was portrayed as an insubordinate SOB just like my uncle Jack who, in real life, under fire rescued a wounded officer from no man's land in the North African desert in WW II. Jack never heard a thing about it, but the young officer probably got 'decorated'.]
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Re: CHO'D Alexander : Drapery Manager ?

Post by John Upham » Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:08 pm

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