|A North Mymms gardener in the 1900s
Image from P Grant / G Nott, part of the images of North Mymms collection
In early Victorian times the majority of those living in North Mymms were heavily involved in production. Many of the men were farmers or farm labourers, many women were employed in straw plaiting for hat making. Over time, the production of goods declined to be replaced by the provision of services. In the second half of the 19th century those involved in farming fell by 39%, general labouring fell by 50%.
Hat makers moved out because of overseas competition and 70 woman employed in straw plaiting lost their jobs. Many moved into the service industry, meeting the needs of the influx of stockbrokers, solicitors and merchants who moved to the area and needed their gardens tended and their laundry done.
Peter Kingsford wrote about the North Mymms ‘service economy’ in an article in the May 1990 issue of the Chancellor’s Community Newsletter, reproduced here with permission of the publisher. Click on the image below for a larger version.