There are some wonderful gems in British Social History. I love reading about them. Yesterday I came across what they called a “Knocker up” or “Knocker upper” probably old hat for my British friends, but certainly new and intriguing for me and others I know. These were the guys, and I believe there were women as well, who during the Industrial Revolution in the Victorian age, were hired to tap on the windows of the homes of workers to wake them up early for the day’s work. Alarm clocks didn’t exist, they only came later. So these knocker ups or uppers were a kind of human alarm clock.
They had these long sticks for high windows, often made of bamboo, and would use them to tap on the windows to rouse the people. They also used a little truncheon-like thing for tapping on the doors, and a contraption called a “snuffer outer” used to put out the gas lamps at the same time.
Apparently, the role of the Knocker up was described in the TV series, “The Worst Jobs in History.” Not sure why it was classified in this way. I’m sure there were far worse jobs than that in Victorian England.
Pondering on all this I couldn’t help but wonder who woke the Knocker upper, up. Perhaps the Knocker upper of the knocker uppers.