Norland Nannies

Living History

Norland Nannies

The fictional character of Mary Poppins, invented by P.L. Travers, typifies the quintessential British nanny. Though much has changed since the books were written the British Nanny most definitely did and does exist. Indeed she - and quite often these days he, seems to be thriving!

British Nannies are a prestige symbol amongst the rich and famous, none more so than the nannies produced by Norland. This college for nannies has been going for over a hundred years - and their graduates are in great demand - considered to be the best and - certainly the most expensive - nannies in the World

Mrs Emily Ward, at age only 26, started a college for Nannies in Norland Place in Notting Hill, London in 1892. She introduced a blue uniform to make her students stand out. These days the uniform is brown with a matching hat and gloves.

The College is now based in Bath, Somerset and offers a BA in Early Devopment and Learning as well as the Norland Diploma. Students may come from all over the world including Russia, USA, and Japan. Graduates are known as Norlanders.

About a hundred Norland nannies graduate each year but demand greatly outstrips supply with eleven job openings for every trained applicant.

It takes four years to become a qualified Norlander, three years of study plus one years practical work. Apart from obvious child caring skills the recruits have to learn to sew and cook to a high standard and study nutrition plus learning how to dress an old fashioned pram. Smoking and fast food are banned.

These days they have to learn advanced driving techniques, such as controlling a skid, for the protection of themselves and their charges.

Within a year they are earning up to 40,000 per annum and can expect that to rise to between 50,000 to 80,000 per year.

To some extent Norland nannies have moved with the times. In the past a nanny might have stayed with a family all her working life, caring for a number of children and then caring for the grandchildren in due course. But today being a nanny is a career rather than a vocation. Some nannies even live out.

Norland are now taking an increasing number of male students. Male nannies are known as - yes, you've guessed it - mannies. Mannies tend to stay with the same family for longer than female nannies.

There are many perks to being a nanny. Exotic holidays, good living conditions - a qualified nanny expects as a minimum a private bedroom and a bathroom, though the bathroom can be shared if it is only with the child.

However, there is a downside. Not all children are little darlings and some parents are a nightmare! Jealous or overpossessive wives and mothers .... Fathers who misunderstand what they can expect for their money. It can be a minefield!

Further reading

Links to external websites are not maintained by Bite Sized Britain. They are provided to give users access to additional information. Bite Sized Britain is not responsible for the content of these external websites.