Advert for W Healing, draper
Polisher: Straker, W
Medium: Print on paper
In almost all clothing stores in the 19th century, staff were expected to live onsite, in accommodation provided by the employer above or next-door to the shop. If the employer was a generous one these lodging were very comfortable, with shop assistants only lodged two-to-a-room. There would have been a communal dining room where they could all eat dinner together, and if they were particularly lucky another room, containing a piano, in which they could relax.
Shops generally opened until 10 o’clock until late in the 19th century, and living above the store meant that female assistants did not have to worry about travelling home in the dark. It was good for the employer too - there was no excuse for an assistant to be late for work.