A charlady or sometimes charwoman was an English house cleaner. The term has the same roots as "chore woman," one hired to do odd chores around the house. A char or chare was a turn (of work) in the sixteenth century, and which gave rise to prefix being used to denote people that worked in domestic situations. The term's usage was popular in the mid-19th Century, often appearing as an occupation in the English census of 1841, but fell out of common use in the last decades of the 20th century. Unlike a maid or housekeeper, typically live-in positions, the charlady worked for weekly wages and usually came and went on a daily basis.
The position often features in fiction; one notable character is the charlady who appears in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. The best known charlady is probably Ada Harris from Paul Gallico's novel Mrs 'Arris goes to Paris.
In the British radio comedy series It's That Man Again, Dorothy Summers played the part of Mrs Mopp, the office char with the catch phrase "Can I do you now, Sir?" (i.e., "May I clean your office now, Sir?" but with an obvious double entendre).
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