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Broadside entitled 'Important Strike of the Maid Servants of Edinburgh'


This satirical notice begins: 'We understand that it is contemplated by "The Maid Servants Union Society" of this city, to make a "strike" at the ensuing term, with a view of obtaining higher wages'. This sheet was published by Sanderson of Edinburgh. There are two woodcuts of ugly and menacing caricatured women servants, included above the title. Along the top of the sheet, someone has hand-written '9th March 1840'.
There was a trend during the mid-nineteenth century for workers trying to better their conditions, the servants' strand of which was reflected in literature of the time. The author of this text is attempting to make fun of maid servants' aspirations to better wages and standards of living, and their attempts to gain respect for both themselves and their careers. This is done mainly by drawing attention to the perks of the job and the stereotypes associated with female servants.

Broadsides are often crudely illustrated with woodcuts - the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Probable date published: 1840   shelfmark: L.C.1268
Broadside entitled 'Important Strike of the Maid Servants of Edinburgh'
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