Lucy Luck (1848-1922): Biographical Entry

456 LUCK, Lucy, ‘A Little of My Life’, edited by J. C. Squire, London Mercury, Vol. xiii, No.76, Nov 1925-Apr 1926, pp.354-73. Extract in J. Burnett (ed.), Useful Toil. Autobiographies of working people from the 1820s to the 1920s (Allen Lane, London, 1974), pp.68-77.

Born 25 May 1848 in Tring. Died 1922. Father: a bricklayer and drunkard who deserted his family c.1851. 2 brothers, 1 sister. Attended school (no details) and Sunday School. Married, 1867, with 7 children. Lived in workhouse (c.1851-4); St. Albans (1861); Beckenham (1862); Luton (1863); London (1867-).

Half-timer at silk mill (c.1854) and full-time at age 10; domestic servant (1861-c.1863); learned straw trade, making hats, and worked in that industry, in factories and at home, for 47 years.

Regular attender at Church.

Raised in an environment of poverty and drunkenness, the author provides a simple yet moving account of a childhood spent in the workhouse, factory and lodgings. In an attempt to better her position she left the mill and domestic service to enter the straw trade, about which she provides brief descriptions of hat manufacturing and periodic unemployment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *