Wanna Knocker-Up?

A Knocker-Up was an actual profession. Okay, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what it might be??? Images of men getting paid to knock women up ran amuck so badly that after I hounded my husband to tell me what it was, and he snorted at me and then proved once again that a degree in History really is kind of bullshit and code for more time to drink in college, I had to find out!!

Mary Smith.  Photograph from Philip Davies’ Lost London: 1870-1945.

Mary Smith. Photograph from Philip Davies’ Lost London: 1870-1945.

Found this picture first!! Ummm……what did she have to do with my running imagery of men lined up around the corner to try their hand at putting a bun in the oven? Well, it turns out that it was not a human Stud hired for the rich to impregnate. Folks meet Mary Smith who was a human alarm clock!!

A Knocker-up was a profession in England before annoying alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. It was their jobs to wake sleeping people so they could make it to work on time. Using a heavy stick to knock on clients doors or a long light stick (often made of bamboo) to reach windows on higher floors. Some used pea-shooters. The knocker-up would not leave their clients window until they were sure they were up and moving. Get this, humans were very affordable. Mary was paid sixpence a week to shoot dried peas at market workers’ windows in Limehouse Fields, London.

Okay, I like learning new things and while I found this highly interesting. Is it bad that I am a tiny bit disappointed?

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