At the end of the late 19th Century and indeed into the 20th Century at a time before the advent of alarm clocks, people were paid to knock on the shutters or doors of miner’s homes. Employment was usually by the colliery itself to ensure people didn’t sleep in. This profession was known nationally as a “Knocker Upper”. (In Scotland, more locally as a “Chapper Upper”)
There’s evidence that this occurred in Blantyre as late as 1920, where a man was paid 6d a week to waken the miners in the early hours of the morning. It raised 2 questions for me:
- Who actually woke this man up so he could go out to work in those early hours? and
- What did he do from 6am, all through the day and night until it was time to go out again?!
Pictured are various “knocker up” photos from the 1920s and 30s.
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