Office Staff Practices, 1852

Victorian London

  1. Godliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business.
  2. This firm has reduced the hours of work, and the clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  3. Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The clerical staff will be present.
  4. Clothing must be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in rainment of bright colour.
  5. Overshoes and top coats may not be worn in the office but neck scarves and headwear may be worn in inclement weather.
  6. A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. Coal and wood must be kept in the locker. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff bring 4lb. of coal each day during cold weather.
  7. No member of the clerical staff may leave the room without permission from Mr Rogers. The calls of nature are permitted and clerical staff may use the garden behind the second gate. This area must be kept in good order.
  8. No talking is allowed during business hours.
  9. The craving for tobacco, wines, or spirits is a human weakness and as such is forbidden to all members of the clerical staff.
  10. Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced the partaking of food is allowed between 11:30 a.m. and noon, but work will not on any account cease.
  11. Members of the clerical staff will provide their own pens

A document dated 1852, quoted in Victoria’s Heyday, by J.B. Priestly, William Heinemann, 1972.