This post on Ladybird People at Work In A Hotel originally appeared on Being Mrs C as part of Ladybird Tuesday. It has been updated and edited before appearing here on Penny Reads.
I started collecting Ladybird books by accident. I never intended to become a series collector, but the more I bought the more I loved them and the more I wanted to share my collection with other people.
I love sharing my Ladybird collection with my readers and hope to continue to do so here on Penny Reads. When I started collecting I was amazed that although I could find excellent listings of the books on sites such as The Wee Web there were very few people writing about the individual books themselves. Some of that has changed with the amazing Ladybird Fly Away Home, but when I first started Ladybird Tuesday back in 2012 that site didn’t really exist in the way it does today.
Ladybird Tuesday is going to kick off with In A Hotel which was part of series 606B People at Work. Originally published in 1972, this book aimed to provide information about the people who work in a hotel and how they contribute towards its smooth and efficient running. The series looked at a variety of occupations ranging from fireman and policeman to miner, car maker and pottery makers.
Things have obviously changed a lot in the hotel industry since People At Work In A Hotel was written and one of the most obvious things is the absence of computers at the time. The idea of a receptionist having charts showing which rooms are occupied and which empty is very old fashioned, but then so is the concept of someone writing a letter to book a room.
One thing that is obviously noticable in this book (and looking at the other titles in the series) is just how much the roles are gender based. The “girls in the cashier’s office” are obviously no more, but at the time of writing many companies had rooms full of women who were either cashiers or typists. Technology has replaced both these roles but it is strange to look back and see how women at the time were somewhat limited in the roles that they could take on.
The expectations at the time were that men would take on the senior roles and hotels were no different.
“In all hotels there is one man who is in charge of everything. This is the manager.”
Not one person, but specifically a man. The book even goes on to describe exactly what he will be wearing. I’m guessing that the ideal of a female manager would have probably blown the mind of whoever wrote this at the time, but it’s still a bit surprising for the 1970s.
As a child I’m sure I would have loved this book as I always thought of hotels as being incredibly exotic places and I really wanted to understand how things worked behind the scenes. That was in the 1980s though and even then things had changed. I’ve no idea when they stopped publishing this particular book but it is funny looking back and seeing just how dated it is, yet I suppose a lot has changed in 40 years!