Heritage Web Site Search Heritage Web Site Full Tour Listing Home


Women's History Walking Tour of
St. John's
Military Road Area
(Tour Part 1)


Waterfront Area
(Tour Part 2)

Next Stop

Previous Stop

Waterfront Area Full Map

Full Tour Listing


3. Go down Church Hill, cross Duckworth Street and turn right to go down McBride's Hill to Water Street.

Right: Water Street.
© 1998, Lisa LeDrew.
(26 kb)

Women Shop Workers, Water Street


Many working class women contributed to the family income by working in the shops which dotted Water Street during the early 20th century. Dry goods, millinery, grocery and drapery stores, and large multi-purpose stores such as Ayres, sought young, single, female workers.

Water Street, pre-1892.
Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives (Geography Collection 137, Photo 2121), Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.
(23 kb)

Work options for women were few, and being a shop clerk was generally seen as less demanding and dirty labour than factory or fish plant work. Sales work was largely unskilled and paid low wages. In 1921, over 400 women worked in sales, not counting those employed in smaller grocery and confectionary stores in the city.

Shop facade, ca. 1920s.
Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives (Geography Collection 137, Photo 250), Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.
(41 kb)

In 1938, the Newfoundland Protective Association of Shop and Office Employees was formed. Forty per cent of the membership were women, and the first Vice-President was Amelia Fogwill.

Most women gave up their paid labour when they married, in line with the conventions of the day.


Previous Stop (#2) | Next Stop (#4)
Full Map

Top of Page

Navigation Bar


Partnered Project Heritage Web Site Project
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Next Stop Previous Stop