Aunt Eliza's Garret

Print from Aunt Eliza's Garret, 1854, p. 101. Print from Aunt Eliza's Garret, 1854, p. 101.

Aunt Eliza's Garret is the title of an 1854 melodrama by G. M. Viner, on how drinking, bad business skills and an even worse choice of friends could reduce a family to poverty, forcing its 'respectable' female members to become 'needlewomen' in order to make a semblance of a living.

In the book, needlewomen or needle hands decorate pre-shaped pieces of cloth, which are then sent to the sempstress (sic) to be sewn into garments and other items. The book is particularly interesting for showing the working conditions of many London needlewomen and the problems they had with some factory and atelier owners and their middlemen, who deliberately cheated them out of their salaries using various excuses.


  • ALEXANDER, Lynn Mae (2003). Women, Work, and Representation: Needlewomen in Victorian Art and Literature, Athens: Ohio University Press.
  • VINER, G. M. (1854). Aunt Eliza's Garret, or, Scenes in the Life of a Needle-Woman, London: H. Elliott.


Last modified on Sunday, 16 April 2017 19:02
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