Atropos (atropos_lee) wrote in little_details,

Apprenticeships in London, UK, 1933, for the orphaned daughter of a British Army NCO

My character is a 12/3 year old girl, the orphan daughter of a British Army sergeant, cared for in an Board or Industrial school since the death of her father in circa 1928 in Iraq.

I need her to have a trade, specifically technical drawing or cartography, preferably obtained through an apprenticeship to a London firm.

A reader has objected to this because of the cost of apprenticeship in the early 1930s (the crunch years of the depression), and finds it unlikely that an Industrial or Charity school would place her in a trade apprenticeship.

I have searched a wide variety of combinations of the following: Barnardos, Orphanages, depression, London, apprenticeship, training, trade, "British Legion" - but I am getting too many results to find good leads, most referencing the 18th and 19th Centuries, or the 1940s-1950s.

I am happy to do primary research at the British Library etc - but can anyone offer some good starting points or first person accounts?

Edit: Thank you everyone - there are some really interesting comments here, and some fruitful ground to cover in creating my character's backstory, and some good lines of enquiry

I should perhaps say I have no problem with the idea of a girl training as a draughtswoman in the 1930s; the census for Colchester in 1921 lists 401 "Women Clerks and Draughtswomen - in many lighter industries it was seen as a branch of clerical work, and hence a proper role for women. I also have personal testimony of a 14 year-old girl apprentice to a drawing-office in 1938.

My concern now is rather with the process by which apprenticeships were contracted in the 1930s, and how a charity or local authority might go about arranging it.

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