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Upper, middle, or working class?

(206 Posts)
Greycatgingercat Sun 15-Nov-20 11:28:11

I was speaking to another parent at DD's nursery and she said that she was upper class. Her husband is a doctor and she does embroidery but mentioned that she also uses dr as her title. She's a lovely lady and we work in similar fields as I run a small business making children's cloths.

I'd never really spoken about class before this, so it prompted me to have a conversation with my mother. I'd consider myself working class but my mother would consider herself middle class, as her father was a head teacher yet she never worked after I was born so after my father left we relied on benefits.

The lady at DD's nursery is originally form Pakistan, but has lived in the UK for 7 years so I'm not sure if it's more of a cultural thing her telling me her class.

What class would you consider yourself as and what do you think makes someone a particular social class?

OP’s posts: |
optimisticpessimist01 Sun 15-Nov-20 11:31:13

I'm happy to be corrected but I think there are very, very few people who are classed as upper class. I would say a Doctor is middle class?

I grew up being working class and I would still call myself that, however I think by definition I would be middle class and both DP and I are teachers

Greycatgingercat Sun 15-Nov-20 11:34:55

@optimisticpessimist01 I would have thought of the royals and such as upper class.

OP’s posts: |
Lelophants Sun 15-Nov-20 11:35:15

I thought Upper class was multimillionaire or beaurocracy? She must mean upper class in Pakistan as it must be a different system.

Lelophants Sun 15-Nov-20 11:35:54

By beurocracy I definitely meant aristocracy!

SaskiaRembrandt Sun 15-Nov-20 11:36:50

I had no idea embroidery was a class thing.

SaskiaRembrandt Sun 15-Nov-20 11:38:24

I would have thought of the royals and such as upper class.

The royals are above the class system, that exists for commoners.

something2say Sun 15-Nov-20 11:41:47

Class is a social construct and most countries don't recognize it / laugh at us for believing it's true.

I think this because my mother thought herself upper middle class, yet she beat her children and abused them behind closed doors. Thus I began to think that money and education don't define a person but behaviour does.

SaskiaRembrandt Sun 15-Nov-20 11:44:02

Other countries do have their own class systems.

MikeUniformMike Sun 15-Nov-20 11:46:06

The royals aren't upper class. They are royalty.

Audreyseyebrows Sun 15-Nov-20 11:46:15

I might take up embroidery

Lelophants Sun 15-Nov-20 11:46:50


I might take up embroidery


Countdowntonothing Sun 15-Nov-20 11:47:57

Upper class is Earls, Dukes, Counts, Viscounts etc. isn't it? You can only be upper class if you have enough family money to not need paid employment.

AgentProvocateur Sun 15-Nov-20 11:50:03

I’ve only ever hear of people discussing class on MN. In real life, no one gives a shot about what class people are (unless they’re a total dickhead)

x2boys Sun 15-Nov-20 11:51:13

Class is a ridiculous concept ,you get many people on here insisting they are working class ,when they live in nice four bed houses ,send their children to private school etc ,because their parents once lived in a council house ,but Mumsnet is a bit obsessed with class .

SaskiaRembrandt Sun 15-Nov-20 11:53:40

* In real life, no one gives a shot about what class people are (unless they’re a total dickhead)*

It would be marvellous if that was the case, but a quick glance at the structures of power in this country suggest otherwise. Yes, there are people who don't fit the public school/Oxbridge model, but far, far more who do.

3JsMa Sun 15-Nov-20 11:54:50


I’ve only ever hear of people discussing class on MN. In real life, no one gives a shot about what class people are (unless they’re a total dickhead)

We are not stuck in Victorian times,aren't we?confused

SonjaMorgan Sun 15-Nov-20 12:10:25

The class system is bollocks. Most of this country is a few paychecks away from losing everything.

LaBodDelMed Sun 15-Nov-20 12:14:29

I can never get my knickers in a twist about the class system and who is what.
But this stood out from your post @Greycatgingercat
“Her husband is a doctor and she does embroidery but mentioned that she also uses dr as her title.”
If she herself is not a Dr in either the medical or academic sense, then using the Dr title just because her husband is a Dr is just nuts.

LittleOverwhelmed Sun 15-Nov-20 12:17:02

I don’t think that being a Dr (medical or PhD) or being a millionaire (money doesn’t buy class) makes you upper class grin.

My parents were born working class, but my Dad was a (international) company director, my mum was a secretary. DH’s dad owns his own legal chambers. DH went to Public School. DS is at private school. DH and I are both university educated and work as professionals. We live in a very middle class city in South West England. All very middle class.

Upper class is the aristocracy. Although I can think of at least one who isn’t (at least not for a good few generations), but would still claim it grin (even wearing a sign it rong in her little finger to prove it).

PicsInRed Sun 15-Nov-20 12:18:42

This isn't a cultural difference OP, she's mad.

Swerve her.

olderthanyouthink Sun 15-Nov-20 12:20:25

She uses her husbands title? Weird, makes me think of Princess Michael of Kent

nodogz Sun 15-Nov-20 12:22:15

I've started thinking of myself as working class - because I have to work for a living. I can't not work.

Things have started to change in this country, if you were a dr you could live a very comfortable life in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s. But I've seen drs in their 30/40s make the move back up north recently and they are buying very modest houses in good school catchment areas (so no private school). The distinction between people who inherit wealth seems to be the biggest indicator of future wealth. There's a much lower opportunity to create your own wealth now.

My upbringing was middle class (professional parents, owned home, area with good school which was better than local private). But my extended family was working class (council houses and blue collar jobs). But in 80s they all bought houses and some blue collar jobs paid more than white collar jobs.

When I met my partner (who is solidly middle class) he had inherited a sum which he'd put into property and I had bought a house when houses in my northern city were very very cheap. We've traded up on houses every few years and now live in a very nice house/area. We have one child at primary and they have all school or uni fees taken care of already. They will inherit wealth and they will be a higher class than me. If I was starting out today, my outcomes would be to a much more modest place.

There's a lot of tension and inequality in this country. If you make 50k it seems taboo to say you're working class or to think about paying more tax. But even on 50k your lifestyle is very vulnerable to redundancy/ill health. Most professional jobs and opportunities have been sucked in to London when10/15 years ago you'd have them regionally with security.

I'm guess op's friend thinks about class as income. But it's culturally wider than that, some past times do exclude others (theatre, opera) but others don't (gardening, football). I'm very careful to not define myself against others as it's often pure luck and circumstance that defines where you end up.

MikeUniformMike Sun 15-Nov-20 12:22:45

People do discuss class IRL. I know many who claim to be working class when they are not. They tend to be lower middle class with working class aspirations.

kittykat35 Sun 15-Nov-20 12:23:09

Thank god I live in Ireland where the question of "what class are you in?" Can be answered only in relation to primary school children...🤣🤣
My daughter is in 3rd class and my son is in 1st class 🤣🤣👍

..,no time for class systems here (imo)

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