Dictionary of Old Occupations

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Definitions of jobs Relieving Officer - Runner

Relieving Officer: a workhouse official who handled applications from destitute paupers.

Renovator: a pretentious sounding job title for someone who repaired one's clothing.

Resurrection Man: commonly known as 'Body Snatchers', Resurrection Men illegally stole the bodies of deceased people. These despised criminals were funded by the medical profession, who illicitly purchased corpses for medical experimentation.

Revenuer: everyone's best friend, the Tax Collector.

Rickmaster: a rick was where hay was stored for consumption by horses. A rickmaster was in charge of horses. Looking online you will see this defined as a military title 'Captain of Horse'.

Riddler: purchased wool, sorted into different grades of quality and sold on to the textile and clothing manufacturers. Similar to Wool Stapler.

Rider: a commercial traveller.

Rider Out: old term for Rider, a commercial traveller

Riding Officer: the old fashioned term for an armed horse-mounted Customs officer. They patrolled to apprehend smugglers who imported goods to avoid paying taxes.

Riftere: a French sounding occupational title for the Reaper, a land labourer who harvested crops such as grain etc.

Rigger: set the rigging on ships.

Ring Spinner: worked in the weaving industry, operating a cotton-spinning machine.

Rippier: An alternate spelling of Ripper, a fish merchant.

Ripper: fish merchant.

Riverman: worked on barges or riverboats, transporting goods along canals and rivers.

Roadman: a slang term for a hobo or tramp, or a man who repaired and maintained roads.

Rope Spinner: as the name suggests, span fibres such a raffia, yarn, flax or cotton into ropes.

Rockgetter: mined rock salt.

Rockman: set explosive charges in a quarry to facilitate environmentally unfriendly mining.

Rodman: holds the vertical rod to assist a land surveyor operating a theodolite.

Roll Turner: worked in the textile industry, preparing yarn for spinning.

Roller Coverer: a textile industry worker, covered the mechanical rollers used for spinning yarn.

Rolleyway Man: worked in a mine, this man would maintain the underground roadways.

Roman Cementer: Roman Cement was nothing to do with the cement Romans used, but an 18th century cement product. The Roman Cementer used this cement in building or decorating.

Roman Plasterer: another name for a Roman Cementer.

Copyright: Jane Hewitt. This dictionary is authorised for use on www.familyresearcher.co.uk only.

Roper: manufactured ropes, or a weaving industry occupational term similar to a cotton spinner.

Rotarius: posh sounding term for a man who manufactured or repaired wheels.

Rover: most likely a textile industry worker who worked with cotton yarn. In very archaic terms was a nickname for an Archer.

Royal Naval Reserve: member of a reserve of professional sailors founding in 1859 who could be called up to serve in the navy when war broke out. Commonly abbreviated to RNR.

Rubbisher: a quarry worker who sorted the smaller stones.

Rubbler: alternative term for a Rubbisher. Sounds a bit better though!

Rugman: a merchant selling rugs.

Rule Maker: those educated before the 1980s should know that a rule is the correct name for what is commonly called a ruler. This occupation simply means someone who manufactured wooden rules (or rulers if you prefer).

Rully Man: cart driver.

Runner: delivered messages, often on foot. May have been delivering legal messages for magistrates. The term runner is also currently used for someone who smuggles contraband, e.g. a gun runner, a drug runner. Also a mining industry term for a person who pushed carts in a coal mine.

This dictionary is my own work, and copyright Jane Hewitt. I sometimes find unauthorised (i.e. stolen) copies of my website content appearing on other people's websites. If you should read a group of identical glossary definitions elsewhere on the web, consider whether such sites are reputable or not.

Avoid Meeting a Body Snatcher by Fiona MacDonald

It's 1828 and you're a medical student at the world-famous Edinburgh university. You are keen to start dissecting bodies to learn all about anatomy, but be careful who you buy your body from- some people will do anything to get their hands on one!

This book explores the body-snatching craze that gripped 19th century Britain, including the infamous Burke and Hare murders.

The humorous cartoon-style illustrations and the narrative approach encourage readers to get emotionally involved with the characters, aiding their understanding of the darker side of 19th century science.