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Fun Fact April 3, 2020.

3 April 2020


Ever heard of a knocker-upper?  Well, you’re about to.  The knocker-upper, or sometimes just a knocker-up was a profession in Britain and Ireland during the industrial revolution.  Back then alarm clocks we not cheap or very reliable.  The job of the knocker-upper was that of a living alarm clock.  They went house to house waking the workers so they could get to the factory on time.  They used a baton or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients’ doors or a longer, light pole, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors.  A few even used a pea-shooter.  The knocker-up would be paid a few pennies a week. There was no snooze button either.  The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were sure that the client was out of bed and fully awake.  A knocker-upper would also use a ‘snuffer outer’ as a tool to wake up their snoozing clients.  The snuffer outer was used to put out gas lamps which were lit at dusk and then needed to be extinguished at dawn.  So you could hold both jobs, a knocker-upper and a snuffer-outer.  There were large numbers of people carrying out the job, especially in larger industrial towns like Manchester. Generally the job was done by elderly men and women but sometimes police constables supplemented their pay by performing the task during early morning patrols.  My question; who woke up the knocker-uppers?