Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Heritage NL celebrates Outport Girls and Women in Domestic Service as Exceptional People from the Past.

Unknown woman and Monica Rice Rossiter, Nunnery Hill, St. John's, circa 1930s.

The newest addition to our Provincial Historic Commemorations Program (PHCP) honours Outport Girls and Women in Domestic Service as Exceptional People from the Past. 

The PHCP (administered by Heritage NL) commemorates provincially significant aspects of our history and culture. It is unique in that it also recognizes intangible aspects of our culture and heritage – the customs, cultural practices, traditional skills and knowledge that define our province and our people.

Joan Ritcey, chair of the Commemorations selection committee, says, "the Provincial Historic Commemorations Program is an important element for the recognition and appreciation of our past. By recognizing our cultural traditions and history we honour our heritage and pass it on to future generations."

Since the Program's inception in 2010, 38 designations have been made, including the designation being recognized on March 8th:  Outport Girls and Women in Domestic Service (Exceptional People from the Past).

The economic history of Newfoundland and Labrador is dominated by prominent merchants, politicians and businessmen. But merchant and fishing households alike could not have operated without the help of “the girl”: that is, the domestic servant. These girls and young women, usually from rural outports, represented the largest sector of waged women’s work from the late 19th century right up to Confederation. Their often invisible labour was essential to the operation of households of all classes. The migratory workforce of outport women in this province was a key part of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy up until the 1950s, and an important part of its social history. 

Follow this link to the official Commemoration listing

Heritage NL is a provincial crown agency with a mandate to stimulate an understanding of and an appreciation for the architectural heritage and intangible cultural heritage of the province. For more information visit

For Further Information Contact:

Andrea O’Brien                                                                                                                                     
1-888-739-1892 ext 4 

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