THE majority of occupations in all civilized communities are divisible into distinct classes, the employers and the employed. The employers are necessarily capitalists to a greater or less extent, providing generally the materials and implements necessary for the work, as well as the subsistence of the workmen, in the form of wages and appropriating the proceeds of the labour, while the employed are those who, for the sake of the present subsistence supplied to them, undertake to do the requisite work for the employer. In some few trades these functions are found to be united in the same individuals. The class known as peasant proprietors among the cultivators of the soil are at once the labourers and the owners of the land and stock. The cottiers, on the other hand, though renting the land of the proprietor, are, so to speak, peasant farmers, tilling the land for themselves rather than doing so at wages for some capitalist tenant. In handicrafts and manufactures the same combination of functions is found to prevail. In the clothing districts the domestic workers are generally their own masters, and so again in many other branches of production. These trading operatives are known by different names in different trades. In the shoe trade, for instance, they are called "chamber-masters," in the "cabinet trade" they are termed "garret-masters," and in "the cooper's trade" the name for them is "small tradingmasters." Some style them "master-men," and others, "single-handed masters." In all occupations, however, the master-men are found to be especially injurious to the interests of the entire body of both capitalists and operatives, for, owing to the limited extent of their resources, they are obliged to find a market for their work, no matter at what the sacrifice, and hence by their excessive competitions they serve to lower the prices of the trade to a most unprecedented extent. I have as yet met with no occupation in which the existence of a class of master-men has worked well for the interest of the trade, and I have found many which they have reduced to a state of abject wretchedness. It is a peculiar circumstance in connection with the master-men that they abound only in those callings which require a small amount of capital, and which, consequently, render it easy for the operative immediately on the least disagreement between him and his employer to pass from the condition of an operative into that of a trading workmen. When among the fancy cabinetmakers I had a statement from a gentleman, in , who supplied the materials to these men, that a fancy cabinet-maker, the manufacturer of writing-desks, tea-caddies, ladies' workboxes, &c., could begin, and did begin, business on less than A youth had just then bought materials of him for to "begin on a small desk," stepping at once out of the trammels of apprenticeship into the character of a master-man. Now this facility to commence business on a man's own account is far greater in the chimney-sweepers' trade than even in the desk-makers,' for the needs no previous training, while the other does.
Thus when other trades, skilled or unskilled, are depressed, when casual labour is with a mass of workpeople more general than constant labour, they naturally inquire if they "cannot do better at something else," and often resort to such trades as the chimney-sweepers'. It is open to
|all, skilled and unskilled alike. Distress, a desire of change, a vagabond spirit, a hope to "better themselves," all tend to swell the ranks of the single-handed master chimney-sweepers; even though these men, from the casualties of the trade in the way of "seasons," &c., are often exposed to great privations.|
There are in all single-handed masters, who are thus distributed throughout the metropolis:—
(), (), Marylebone, , and Whitechapel (each ), Hackney, Stepney, and (each ), St. George'sin- the-East (), (), St. Giles' and East London (each ), Bethnal-green, , Camberwell, and Clapham (each ), , , , and Greenwich (each ), St. James's (), , Clerkenwell, St. Luke's, Poplar, , West London, City, Wandsworth, and Woolwich (each ); in all, .
Thus we perceive, that the single-handed masters abound in the suburbs and poorer districts; and it is generally in those parts where the lower rate of wages is paid that these men are found to prevail. Their existence appears to be at once the cause and the consequence of the depreciation of the labour.
Of the single-handed masters there is a sub-class known by the name of "knullers" or "queriers."
The were formerly, it is probable, known as knellers. The Saxon word is to knell (to knull properly), or sound a bell, and the name "knuller" accordingly implies the sounder of a bell, which has been done, there can be no doubt, by the London chimney-sweepers as well as the dustmen, to announce their presence, and as still done in some country parts. informant has known this to be the practice at the town of Hungerford in Berkshire. The bell was in size between that of the muffin-man and the dustman.
The knuller is also styled a "," a name derived from his making at the doors of the houses as to whether his services are required or are likely to be soon required, calling even where they know that a regular resident chimneysweeper is employed. The men go along calling "sweep," more especially in the suburbs, and if asked "Are you Mr. So-and-So's man?" answer in the affirmative, and may then be called in to sweep the chimneys, or instructed to come in the morning. Thus they receive the full charge of an established master, who, for the sake of his character and the continuance of his custom, must do his work properly; while if such work be done by the knuller, it will be hurriedly and therefore badly done, as all work is, in a general way, when done under false pretences.
Some of the sharpest of these men, I am told, have been reared up as sweepers; but it appears, although it is a matter difficult to ascertain with precision, the majority have been brought up to some generally unskilled calling, as scavagers, costermongers, tinkers, bricklayers' labourers, soldiers, &c. The knullers or queriers are almost all to be found among the lower class chimneysweepers. There are, from the best information to be obtained, from to of them. Not only do they scheme for employment in the way I have deseribed, but some of them call at the houses of both rich and poor, boldly stating that they had been by Mr. —— to sweep the flues. I was informed by several of the master sweepers, that many of the fires which happen in the metropolis are owing to persons employing these "knullers," "for," say the high masters, "they scamp the work, and leave a quantity of soot lodged in the chimney, which, in the event of a large fire being kept in the range or grate, ignites." This opinion as to the fires in the chimneys being caused by the scamped work of the knullers must be taken with some allowance. Tradesmen, whose established business is thus, as they account it, usurped, are naturally angry with the usurpers.
There is another evil, so say the regular masters, resulting from the employment of the knullers—the losses accruing to persons employing them, as "they take anything they can lay their hands upon."
This, also, is a charge easy to make, but not easy to refute, or even to sift. master chimney-sweeper told me that when chimneys are swept in rich men's houses there is almost always some servant in attendance to watch the sweepers. If the rich, I am told, be watchful under these circumstances, the poor are more vigilant.
The distribution of the knullers or queriers is as follows:— (), and St. Giles' ( each), and Whitechapel ( each), (), Marylebone, Stepney and ( each), St. George's in the East and Woolwich ( each), and Hackney ( each), East London, , and Greenwich ( each), Paddington, , East London, Retherhithe and Greenwich ( each), Paddington, , , , and Clapham ( each), , St. Martin's, , St. Luke's, West London, Poplar, and Camberwell ( each); St. James's (), Clerkenwell, City of London, and Wandsworth ( each), Kensington (); in all, .
Like the single-handed men the knullers abound in the suburbs. I endeavoured to find a knuller who had been a skilled labourer, and was referred to who, I was told, had been a working plumber, and a "good hand at spouts." I found him a doggedly ignorant man; he saw no good, he said, in books or newspapers, and "wouldn't say nothing to me, as I'd told him it would be printed. He wasn't a going to make a holyshow [so I understood him] of -self."
Another knuller (to whom I was referred by a master who occasionally employed him as a journeyman) gave me the following account. He was "doing just middling" when I saw him, he said, but his look was that of a man who had known privations, and the soot actually seemed to bring out his wrinkles more fully, although he told me he was only between and years old; he believed he was not .
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|Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles|
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Trays, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Linen, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curtains
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Carpeting, Flannels, Stocking-Legs, &c., &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Bed-Ticking, Sacking, Fringe, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Glass and Crockery
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Miscellaneous Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Musical Instruments
Of the Music 'Duffers'
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Weapons
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curiosities
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Telescopes and Pocket Glasses
Of the Street-Sellers of Other Miscellaneous Second-Hand Articles
Of Second-Hand Store Shops
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Wholesale Business at the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Uses of Second-Hand Garments
Of the Street-Sellers of Petticoat and Rosemary-Lanes
Of the Street-Sellers of Men's Second-Hand Clothes
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Boots and Shoes
Of the Street-Sellers of Old Hats
Of the Street-Sellers of Women's Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Furs
Of the Second-Hand Sellers of Smithfield- Market
|Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals|
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
Of the Former Street-Sellers, 'Finders,' Stealers, and Restorers of Dogs
Of a Dog-'Finder' -- A 'Lurker's' Career
Of the Present Street-Sellers of Dogs.
Of the Street-Sellers of Sporting Dogs
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Birds
Of the Bird-Catchers Who are Street- Sellers
Of the Crippled Street Bird-Seller
Of the Tricks of the Bird-Duffers
Of the Street-Sellers of Foreign Birds
Of the Street-Sellers of Birds'--Nests
Of the Street-Sellers of Squirrels
Of the Street-Sellers of Leverets, Wild Rabbits, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Gold and Silver Fish
Of the Street-Sellers of Tortoises
Of the Street-Sellers of Snails, Frogs, Worms, Snakes, Hedgehogs, Etc.
|Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions and Natural Curiosities|
Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Coals
Of the Street-Sellers of Coke
Of the Street-Sellers of Tan-Turf
Of the Street-Sellers of Salt
Of the Street-Sellers of Sand
Of the Street-Sellers of Shells
Of the River Beer-Sellers, or Purl-Men
Of the Numbers, Capital, and income of the Street- Sellers of Second-Hand Articles, Live Animals, Mineral Producions, Etc.
Income, or 'Takinags' of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
|Of the Street-Buyers|
Of the Street-Buyers
Of the Street-Buyers of Rags, Broken Metal, Bottles, Glass, and Bones
Of the 'Rag-and-Bottle,' and the 'Marine-Store' Shops
Of the Buyers of Kitchen-Stuff, Grease, and Dripping
Of the Street-Buyers of Hare and Rabbit Skins
Of the Street-Buyers of Waste (Paper)
Of the Street-Buyers of Umbrellas and Parasols
|Of the Street-Jews|
Of the Street-Jews
Of the Trades and Localities of the Street-Jews
Of the Jew Old-Clothes Men
Of a Jew Street-Seller
Of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Pursuits, Dwellings, Traffic, Etc., of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Street Jewesses and Street Jew-Girls
Of the Synagogues and the Religion of the Street and Other Jews
Of the Politics, Literature, and Amusements of the Jews
Of the Charities, Schools, and Education of the Jews
Of the Funeral Ceremonies, Fasts, and Customs of the Jews
Of the Jew Street-Sellers of Accordions, and of their Street Musical Pursuits
Of the Street-Buyers of Hogs'--Wash
Of the Street-Buyers of Tea-Leaves
|Of the Street-Finders or Collectors|
Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
Bone-Grubbers and Rag-Gatherers
Of the 'Pure'-Finders
Of the Cigar-End Finders
Of the Old Wood Gatherers
Of the Dredgers, or River Finders
Of the Sewer-Hunters
Of the Mud-Larks
Of the London Dustmen, Nightmen, Sweeps, and Scavengers
Of the Dustmen of London
Of the London Sewerage and Scavengery
|Of the Streets of London|
Of the Streets of London
Of the Traffic of London
Of the Dust and Dirt of the Streets of London
Of the Street-Dust of London, and the Loss and injury Occasioned by it
Of the Horse-Dung of the Streets of London
Of Street 'Mac' and Other Mud
Of the Mud of the Streets
Of the Surface-Water of the Streets of London
Of the Master Scavengers in Former Times
Of the Several Modes and Characteristics of Street-Cleansing
Of the Contractors For Scavengery
Of the Contractors' (or Employers') Premises, &c.
Of the Working Scavengers Under the Contractors
Of the 'Casual Hands' Among the Scavagers
Of the Influence of Free Trade on the Earnings of the Scavagers
Of the Worse Paid Scavagers, or Those Working For Scurf Employers
Of the Street-Sweeping Machine, and the Street-Sweepers Employed With it
Of the Cleansing of the Streets by Pauper Labour
Of the Street-Orderlies
Street Orderlies -- City Surveyor's Report
Of the 'Jet and Hose' System of Scavaging
Of the Cost and Traffic of the Streets of London
Of the Rubbish Carters
Of Casual Labour in General, and That of the Rubbish-Carters in Particular
Of the Casual Labourers among the Rubbish-Carters
The Effects of Casual Labour in General
Of the Scurf Trade Among the Rubbish- Carters
|Of the London Chimney-Sweepers|
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Sweepers of Old, and the Climbing Boys
Of the Chimney-Sweepers of the Present Day
Of the General Characteristics of the Working Chimney-Sweepers
Sweeping of the Chimneys of Steam-Vessels
Of the 'Ramoneur' Company
Of the Brisk and Slack Seasons, and the Casual Trade among the Chimney- Sweepers
Of the 'Leeks' Among the Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Inferior Chimney-Sweepers -- the 'Knullers' and 'Queriers'
Of the Fires of London
Of the Sewermen and Nightmen of London
Of the Wet House-Refuse of London
Of the Means of Removing the Wet House-Refuse
Of the Quantity of Metropolitan Sewage
Of Ancient Sewers
Of the Kinds and Characteristics of Sewers
Of the Subterranean Character of the Sewers
Of the House-Drainage of the Metropolis as Connected With the Sewers
Of the London Street-Drains
Of the Length of the London Sewers and Drains
Of the Cost of Constructing the Sewers and Drains of the Metropolis
Of the Uses of Sewers as a Means of Subsoil Drainage
Of the City Sewerage
Of the Outlets, Ramifications, Etc., of the Sewers
Of the Qualities, Etc., of the Sewage
Of the New Plan of Sewerage
Of the Management of the Sewers and the Late Commissions
Of the Powers and Authority of the Present Commissions of Sewers
Of the Sewers Rate
Of the Cleansing of the Sewers -- Ventilation
Of 'Flushing' and 'Plonging,' and Other Modes of Washing the Sewers
Of the Working Flushermen
Of the Rats in the Sewers
Of the Cesspoolage and Nightmen of the Metropolis
Of the Cesspool System of London
Of the Cesspool and Sewer System of Paris
Of the Emptying of the London Cesspools by Pump and Hose
Statement of a Cesspool-Sewerman
Of the Present Disposal of the Night-Soil
Of the Working Nightmen and the Mode of Work