Parlour boarder

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A parlour boarder was a special category of lodger in 18th and 19th century England who lived permanently with another family, ate at their family table, but in addition had the use of a personal sitting room—the parlour. The term also applied to a special category of boarder at a boarding school, normally the child of deceased or wealthy parents, put in the charge of the headmistress of the school and, while attending classes with the rest, was nevertheless treated as a cut above the other students, possibly even having a servant to attend her or him. Frequently the parlour-boarder had a rich guardian, or a fortune in the hands of trustees left for the education and maintenance of the child.

Parlour boarders were often the children of wealthy widows or widowers who could not cope or simply did not want to look after the child themselves, or their guardians might be stationed in some capacity abroad, where a young child could not safely accompany them.