Thursday, January 8, 2015

Heard Of The "Knocker-Up?"

Back in the Victorian days, there were some strange jobs that folks had to perform. Some were good, some were not, but all of them were filling a need.

I thought this particular job was unusual, but I can certainly see how it was needed by many. In fact, it might be a good idea to have something like this when the grid goes down!


Imagine a world without your cell phone. Now imagine a world without alarm clocks. How would people get up in the morning? Thankfully, Britons had knocker-ups or human alarm clocks to help. Working-class folks depended on knocker-ups to run around town at a predetermined time in the morning and wake them up.

Since many working-class folks lived in tall apartment buildings, knocker-ups could not simply pound on the door a few times and move along. Instead, knocker-ups utilized long metal-tipped poles to knock on slabs of slate placed near bedroom windows. Customers would write the time they wished to be woken up on the slate slabs.

Diligent knocker-ups would not leave the window until the customer woke up. This left the embarrassing possibility that a client spent the night at a brothel and the knocker-up banged for hours and hours and then the whole village knew.

Nice factories even hired their own knocker-up to make sure their workers were on time for their soul-crushing Industrial Revolution jobs. Knocker-ups could not fight the rise of technology and, once alarm clocks came, they became completely obsolete.

Now days it would take a brave man to have this job around a Houston neighborhood. Either that, or he would have to be armed!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on the plate there!


linda m said...

I often wondered how people woke up before alarm clocks, now I know. Thanks for that info. Don' t think knockers-up would be safe in any neighborhood _ unless armed - anymore. Such a shame. Bitter cold here again. I'll bring some milk to got with the cookies.

texasann said...

Bubba -
I had heard of the Lamp Lighters, who lit the gas street lamps, and the Town Crier, who gave the time and "All's Well", but not the Knocker Ups. Interesting, But yes, I agree, not a good profession today.
Linda - hope that milk is not frozen. Might be if left outside for the Knocker! Cookies welcome, anytime.
Hugs to you, Big Brother ...

Billy Bob said...

Many years ago I learnt that the Indians used the same alarm clock that us old folk use yet today....gotta pee. Before bed time, they would drink a belly full of water. That's all it took to be up early wander'n round camp look'n for a place to relieve themselfs.

HermitJim said...

See? You just never know what you might find over at the Hermit's house!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Sis...
One of the many jobs that are no longer needed, but were handy in the day!

Looking forward to your next visit! Thanks for dropping by this morning!

Hey Billy Bob...
I'd think that would certainly do it. I know I wake up at about the same time every morning, so it probably was a good thing for them!

Thanks so much for coming over this morning!

Mamahen said...

Wouldn't want that job then or now....those cookies on the other hand are a whole other story :)) Hubby had his follow up from surgery today...all looks good...thank you to everyone for prayers... and thank God for answering them :))