at work: Considerable numbers of women were
employed in the countryside both on the land and in cottage industries.
Around 199,000 female farm workers were employed during the agricultural
peak of the mid-19th century. Many of them were employed on a yearly basis,
whilst others worked in 'gangs', which often included children. Work was
varied, and included such tasks as lifting potatoes, weeding, raking and
planting, harvesting vegetables, stone picking and along certain coastal
regions, the gathering of cockles. Farmers' wives would often take charge
of the dairy and the feeding of poultry, whilst those married to small
scale farmers might well, in addition to farm duties, work outside the
farm in order to supplement the family's income. The image shows a group
of women who were temporarily employed as street cleaners by Bladon Council
during the 1st World War.