Whole generations of people have lived, worked and died without leaving much of a trace behind. These working class people lived in the same towns and cities that we live in now, they walked on the same streets as us and occupied some of the same buildings, but their lives were different to ours in many ways.
By understanding what they did for a living we can get some sense of who they were. We can also make connections that might help us to understand our time and place a little better.
Many jobs from the past have disappeared completely from our modern world. In our collection we have details of trades such as:
Blacksmiths - toolmakers and metal workers who traditionally made horse shoes and tools, but worked in all types of industry including railways, engineering and shipyards.
Boilermakers - made boilers and were also general metal workers.
Brushmakers - made all types of brushes and brooms.
Gasworkers - produced gas that was used to light homes, streets and businesses.
Shipwrights - constructed the structure of a ship and most of the internal fittings.
Silk workers - turned imported raw silk into thread, which was then woven to make silk.
Tailors - made or repaired clothes. Clothing operatives worked in factories to produce wholesale clothing.