A common outfit for a housemaid in the Edwardian era included a black dress worn with a one piece full length apron The style was all in the apron with pocket and cross strap back. Button closures on each shoulder. The apron might have a lace trim around the neckline, arms and hemline. A head parlourmaid [ Sarah O Brien ] or head housemaid [ Anna Bates ] could also double as a ladys maid. Common wages at the time in a large house like Downton Abbey was about Twenty pounds a year.
Copland & Lye, department store cataloge: muslin aprons for domestic sevants, girls & maids ~ In 1901 over 1.5 million people were in domestic service in Britain. Their duties were arduous but essential. With few labour-saving appliances, everything was done by hand - from laying the grate in the morning and cleaning and cooking to doing the laundry.