Before The Alarm Clocks, Knocker-Ups Were Hired To Wake People Up In Industrial Britain

A knocker-up also known as knocker upper was a person, whose job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time. This profession was popular during the Industrial Revolution when the alarm clocks were expensive and they were not reliable as they are now. The “knocker upper” was a common sight in Britain and Ireland, in the areas where people worked shifts or in cities where dockers and buses kept unusual hours.

The knocker-up used a long stick and they tap the windows and doors of the people who have hired them for the job. The stick was made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. And they would not leave a client’s window until they were sure that the client had been awoken. A knocker upper would also use a ‘snuffer outer’ as a tool to rouse the sleeping. This implement was used to put out gas lamps that were lit at dusk and then needed to be extinguished at dawn.

Here below are some historical photos of knocker uppers doing their job from the early 20th century.

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Written by Benjamin Grayson

Former Bouquet seller now making a go with blogging and graphic designing. I love creating & composing history articles and lists.

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