Occupations

The Unusual Occupation of the Leech Collectors or Leech Gatherers

One unusual and interesting occupation of in the 1700 and 1800s was performed by leech collectors or leech gatherers who obtained leeches for medicinal purposes. Leeches were used in bloodletting and were not particularly easy for physicians to obtain, which in part was why leech collectors gathered them. Moreover, both France and England imported millions…

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Tuileries Garden Bird Charmers

Tuileries Garden bird charmers were street performers who appeared in the mid to late 1800s and enticed flocks of birds to come to them. Later, the bird charmers began appearing in other gardens or in public green spaces, such as the Champ de Mars. One of the earliest of the bird charmers at the Tuileries…

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Conjurors and Conjuring in the 1700s

  Conjurors and conjuring existed long before the 1700s, and in its simplest form, conjuring was a performance of tricks that appeared to be magical and usually involved some sort of sleight of hand. Well before conjuring became popular in the 1700s, conjuring performances were given in antiquity and in the middle ages. However, there…

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French Chimney Sweeps

French chimney sweeps, known as le ramoneur, were usually young boys between the age of eight and ten years old. They carried their licenses in their soot bag and lived a hard life. One nineteenth-century person called them “wretched little beings,” and another gave a description of the chimney sweep’s life in the following way:…

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Running Footmen

Running footmen were used by some people in the 1700s because up until the end of the eighteenth-century roads were bad. It resulted in coach travel being slow (seldom above five miles an hour), which was one reason running footmen could keep up and run ahead of coaches and carriages. It almost meant that the…

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Parisian Fortune-Tellers in the Eighteenth Century

Parisian fortune-tellers were plentiful in eighteenth century France, and many fortune seekers visited them during the French Revolution hoping to learn if they would keep their head or not. One man wrote that when he visited the Pont Neuf, fortune-tellers regular used a deck of cards to predict a person’s future. However, a deck of…

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