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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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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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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How House Stewards Cheated Their Masters

House stewards were at the pinnacle when it came to servants. In large and wealthy families, they were responsible for several important jobs: They hired and fired staff, and they purchased and paid for all the bills related to the household. With such responsibilities, it was easy for unscrupulous stewards to take advantage of their…

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Cheating Valets and Tricks of the Trade

One writer in the early 1830s believed that the moral character of household servants had declined. He claimed that servants had an unspoken rule whereby they could supplement their incomes indirectly from their employers and that household domestics took advantage of the situation. One way was by using various tricks to regularly gouge their employers.…

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Housemaids and Their Duties

Servants made family life easier in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and, although today, maids work for the most elite and the wealthiest, during the Victorian era, according to the 1851, 1861, and 1871 census, they comprised the second highest category of employment, with the first being agricultural workers.* The eighteenth and nineteenth century was…

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Body Snatchers in the 1700 and 1800s

Today when someone refers to a body snatcher, it conjures up an unsavory, notorious character. Body snatchers were known to deliver corpses to students, surgeons, and teachers for dissections, and, indeed, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, they developed an offensive, repugnant, and unpopular reputation. Body snatchers were rejected by every section of society from…

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Lady’s Maid and Her Duties in the Georgian and Regency Era

The job of a lady’s maid was, according to one author, “far from laborious, and [was], in most instances, little more than an agreeable exercise of useful qualities.”[1] Besides serving as a confident and secret keeper, a lady’s maid was also responsible to attend to all of the personal needs of her lady and acted…

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