...Peas maker, Piano puncher, Ponty sucker, Ransacker...
The (Oddest) Occupations of the English People in 1881
Welcome to the 51st issue of the Lists of Note newsletter. You can support this project by becoming a paid subscriber, or by donating, or by purchasing a copy of the Lists of Note book. You may also enjoy the recently launched Diaries of Note, in which I feature a diary entry each and every day, published on the same day and month that it was originally written. Thanks.
It wasn’t until 1841 that a person’s occupation had to be entered on the UK Census—before then, it was simply an anonymous headcount that took place each decade. Unsurprisingly, some job titles, when written down without context and presented to an outsider, sound completely ridiculous, especially when they’re jobs that existed in the 1800s, but that’s essentially what this list contains: some particularly odd-sounding occupations as declared in the Census in 1881, collated four years later in the snappily-titled The Companion to the Almanac; or Year-Book of General Information for 1885, in a chapter named The Occupations of the English People. Enjoy.
Idle back maker
Iron bolster maker
Painted Front maker
Ah, how carefree life was in the days when the butt woman and the sad-iron maker didn’t have to worry about AI taking their jobs …