Jobs in Norfolk
24th January 2011
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Norfolk Jobs.

While looking though old newspapers and census, I often see jobs that were common-place years ago and which are never heard of these days, so, I thought I would put a few in an article here, I wonder if we have any people employed carrying out these tasks today.

Harness makers and saddlers were very common in the C19th because every farmer had horses and they all needed harness.

Blacksmiths were common for similar reasons, because, not only were they needed for shoeing, but the local blacksmith would make farm implements, door fittings, hinges, tools and would often work very closely with the wheelwright and cooper, two more nearly extinct trades.

Umbrella makers were to be found in many towns, Victorian ladies often carried parasols in the summer as well as umbrellas in the rain, so their handiwork was in great demand.

Boot & Shoemakers were also common in every town and lots of villages too. Today, we expect shoes to fall to pieces after a few months but in the past, they were expensive items and were repaired and reused for years.

Milliners were another group of people who were very happy with the fashions of the Victorian era. In the past, even up to the 1950's, most adults wore a hat and, even in more recent times, it was unusual to see elderly ladies out without a hat on!

There are dozens of other trades which are no longer around today, some of the really unusual were to be found in cottages, practiced by young women or children. The Victorians were as fashion conscious as any other groups since, with their hooped dresses, bustles, corsets, hats and accessories and a lot of these items, such as their straw hats were made as a cottage industry by thousands of people, often as young as three years old, plaiting straw. Sewing for very fine, detailed work, was also carried out by youngsters as their fingers were very nimble and their eyesight was still good.

Small children were very useful as cheap labour, in factories, on farms and in the big houses. This brings another list of jobs no longer around today; servants! How many parlour-maids, butlers, nurse-maids, footmen and ladies-maids do you know? 

I have only scratched the surface with these few lines, it could be interesting to think about which jobs of today will be extinct soon, they perhaps include; supermarket till operator, bank teller and library assistant?



About the Author

Glynn Burrows B

Member since: 24th January 2011

I'm passionate about Norfolk & love to share that passion with others. My interest in history gave me the idea to start up Norfolk-Tours, see England how YOU want to see England.

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