charwoman n : a human female who does housework; "the char will clean the carpet" [syn: char, cleaning woman, cleaning lady, woman]
a woman employed to do housework
A charlady or sometimes charwoman was an English house cleaner. The term was used through the mid-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 term was also common in the 19th century and often appears as an occupation in the English census of 1841.
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.