Those featured in this section were not; travellers passing through or visiting the manor house, abbey or local fairs -- the sorts of people suggested in previous articles and bringing in news of the outside world. They were also domestic characters who were very well-known to the citizens and who performed important duties.
1. The lamp lighter In 1850 Alcester got its first Gas, Coal and Coke Company. Lighting by gas of the main roads of the town soon followed. The lamplighter went round lighting his lamps an hour after sunset, a normal figure in the town to those abroad as night was falling (he was seen by hardly anybody when he put them out at 2 a.m.). By the end of the century, most lamps were extinguished at midnight but a few not until 6 a.m. This man would have been the Company employee who dismantled the gas tops when summer came, stored them and replaced them in the autumn.
2. The town crier in English; towns had an important function , viz. to call the citizens to important meetings, such as the parish vestry, to announce fairs and to inform the public of new rules, both local and national. was a parish official, as opposed to a manorial ones, but, no doubt, in a place like Alcester, where manor and parish were two sides of the same coin, he probably cried manorial events, too. Today, the town crier in Alcester has only ceremonial duties.
Spring 1991 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1991