Mary Smith earned sixpence a week shooting dried peas at sleeping workers windows.
A Knocker-up (sometimes known as a knocker-upper) was a profession in England and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution and at least as late as the 1920s, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time.
The knocker-up used a truncheon or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients’ doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. Some of them used pea-shooters. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until sure that the client had been awoken.
There were large numbers of people carrying out the job, especially in larger industrial towns such as Manchester. Generally the job was carried out by elderly men and women but sometimes police constables supplemented their pay by performing the task during early morning patrols.
Photograph from Philip Davies’ Lost London: 1870 - 1945.
I am delighted by this.
10,074 notes (via neil-gaiman & collectivehistory)
I was introduced to zoology and palæontology (“for children’’) quite as early as to Faerie. I saw pictures of living beasts and of true (so I was told) prehistoric animals. I liked the “prehistoric” animals best: they had at least lived long ago, and hypothesis (based on somewhat slender evidence) cannot avoid a gleam of fantasy. But I did not like being told that these creatures were “dragons.” I can still re-feel the irritation that I felt in childhood at assertions of instructive relatives (or their gift-books) such as these: “snowflakes are fairy jewels,” or “are more beautiful than fairy jewels”; “the marvels of the ocean depths are more wonderful than fairyland.” Children expect the differences they feel but cannot analyse to be explained by their elders, or at least recognized, not to be ignored or denied. I was keenly alive to the beauty of “Real things,” but it seemed to me quibbling to confuse this with the wonder of “Other things.” I was eager to study Nature, actually more eager than I was to read most fairy-stories; but I did not want to be quibbled into Science and cheated out of Faerie by people who seemed to assume that by some kind of original sin I should prefer fairy-tales, but according to some kind of new religion I ought to be induced to like science. Nature is no doubt a life-study, or a study for eternity (for those so gifted); but there is a part of man which is not “Nature,” and which therefore is not obliged to study it, and is, in fact, wholly unsatisfied by it.
— Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories
For one thing they are now old, and antiquity has an appeal in itself. The beauty and horror of The Juniper Tree (Von dem Machandelboom), with its exquisite and tragic beginning, the abominable cannibal stew, the gruesome bones, the gay and vengeful bird-spirit coming out of a mist that rose from the tree, has remained with me since childhood; and yet always the chief flavour of that tale lingering in the memory was not beauty or horror, but distance and a great abyss of time, not measurable even by twe tusend Johr. Without the stew and the bones—which children are now too often spared in mollified versions of Grimm —that vision would largely have been lost.
[…] If we pause, not merely to note that such old elements have been preserved, but to think how they have been preserved, we must conclude, I think, that it has happened, often if not always, precisely because of this literary effect.
— Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories
In my headcanon, J’onn crossplays Sailor Mars.
12,396 notes (via comicsfacts)
On mocking Doomsday
So, here’s to another doomsday. Once again it’s the season for mocking; secretly disappointed that nothing adventurous or interesting happened to our ennui-filled lives, we point at those who chose to believe in something—like this guy who quit his job to preach the explosion of Venus—and laugh.
During doomsdays I always recall an offhand comment that grandma let slip once (grandmas being the most hardcore skeptics ever), as the TV man reported on some apocalyptic prediction or another: Bah. The world ends when we die. The shadow in her face lasted but a half-second, but I saw it. And I think: they’re right. All of them. Existence is a game in first-person perspective; when the person’s gone, everything is; the entire Universe will cease to exist—inevitably, permanently, soon.