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Jenny Cook
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Registered: 08-08-2020

Biography Account Information
Additional Info About Jenny Cook
Age: 13
Occupation: Housemaid
Class: Working class
Origins: Castleton
History: Jenny was born in 1881 to a mining family. They lived in a single room squatter cottage on Appleton land in return for a small semi-annual rent. By the time she was born, there were three older brothers and an older sister. There had also been a boy directly above her, but he had died a few weeks after birth. There would still be four younger sisters and a younger brother. When she was about one year old, Jenny’s older brother died of typhoid fever. A few years later, a younger sister died of diphtheria.

To deal with the space issue and relief her parents, Jenny and most of the younger children stayed with grandparents when they were young. The mines paid better than the average factory, and Jenny’s parents were able to feed and clothe all their children well enough, but there were indeed many to look after, and they were never able to save up enough to live in better conditions.

When Jenny was almost eight an accident happened in the mine where her father and oldest brother were working, and both died along with several other miners. With them being the main breadwinners, this was not only a personal, emotional tragedy for the family, but also a financial one. Jenny’s mother, who had done some laundry for other people before, started taking any job she could find, while her children helped her with laundry and tending to the younger children. The Appletons hired Jenny’s older sister as a maid and suspended the rent in return for Jenny’s brother, Luke, working on the farm outside of school hours, and later full time with additional payment.

When Luke was thirteen Mr. Appleton managed to get him apprenticed to a farrier near Middlesbrough. When Jenny left school at eleven, Mr. Appleton wrote her older sister a good reference which got her hired in a grander home, and hired Jenny as maid of all work. Her little brother now helps at the farm outside of school. Jenny does not like the work much, but is glad to be able to contribute to her family’s financial situation, and living out of the house takes some of the burden of her family.

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