Question about an AGRICULTURAL SERVANTS OFFICE sign

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webweaver
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Joined: 25 Jun 2017, 09:54

Question about an AGRICULTURAL SERVANTS OFFICE sign

Post by webweaver » 02 Apr 2018, 16:56

Posting this on behalf of someone else:
In our Northamptonshire village (I have not given the village name, as I know that the owner of the cottage does not wish to attract too many people to view it), there is a old cast iron sign (about 2 feet high ) fixed to the wall of a thatched cottage. It has the words cast into it "AGRICULTURAL SERVANTS OFFICE". It is not too easy to read owing to the many coats of wall paint and lime wash over the years. I would like to know what the sign indicated and its approximate age as I am regarded as the village keeper of local history. Could it be associated with the now disbanded 'National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers'?
7 High St. sign.jpg

rwhoyle
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Joined: 25 Jun 2017, 13:45

Re: Question about an AGRICULTURAL SERVANTS OFFICE sign

Post by rwhoyle » 23 May 2018, 20:37

There are attempts to establish exchanges for agricultural servants at various points in the mid-19th century. A quick newspaper search shows that there was one in Gloucester c. 1841. I know of one which was launched at Chippenham (Wilts) c. 1859. The idea was to place the hiring of servants on a new (and better) footing and take business away from the hiring fairs (which had a reputation for debauchery). At the same time, the office doubtless took away the element of free negotiation (which was a marked feature of the fair) and allowed for a much greater formality of contract.

I would suggest that what you have is something similar. If you have access to the British Newspaper Archive, I would carry out a search in the local papers: as you are coy about the place, I can't do that for you.

I think this is more likely than a connection with the Union.

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webweaver
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Joined: 25 Jun 2017, 09:54

Re: Question about an AGRICULTURAL SERVANTS OFFICE sign

Post by webweaver » 24 May 2018, 08:45

Thanks! I have alerted the person who originally asked the question.
C.

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