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Seinter: made girdles.
Self Acting Minder: worked in the textile industry, operating a machine called a Self Acting Mule, which span threads.
Semi Lorer: in Victorian times, a person who made leather thongs was called a Semi Lorer.
Sempster: person who sews for a living.
Sempstress: female who sews for a living (i.e. a seamstress, from 'seams mistress').
Seneschal: an officer in the house of nobles.
Serge Maker: manufactured serge cloth in the textile industry.
Settmaker: cut quarried stone into rectangular blocks for paving. Setts are not the same as cobblestone, because cobblestones are naturally occurring and setts are man-made.
Sewer Hunter: searched sewers for scrap metal and other valuables which could be sold for profit. Typically seen in 19th century Britain.
Sewer Rat: built and maintained the sewer network.
Sewing Clerk: person managing the production of clothing by pieceworkers.
Sewster: alternative name for a Seamstress.
Sexton: an officer of the Church, in charge of the maintenance of buildings and sometimes the graveyard.
Shagreen Case Maker: worked with shagreen, which is a type of leather made from untanned skin, typically dies green. The leather originally came from horses etc but it had changed to include rayfish skin and sharkskin by the time you found a record of your ancestor mentioning shagreen in their occupation title. Shagreen was used to make cases, but also for book bindings, knife / sword scabbards and other uses.
Shallooner: made blankets or bed coverings, or dealt in the fabric Shalloon. The lightweight fabric was often used to line coats.
Copyright: Jane Hewitt. This dictionary is authorised for use on www.familyresearcher.co.uk only.
Shantyman: sailor who led others in singing, or a logger (woodcutter).
Shackle Maker: a metalworker who made chains, shackles and manacles. Have seen this occupation listed in the 1861 census, it may be much older.
Sharecropper: a type of tenant Farmer. Sharecropping is a system of agriculture whereby the landlord allows a tenant to farm the land in exchange for a share of the crop produced from the land. This was not a fixed amount of crop per area of land, but a percentage of the total crop produced.
Shearer: sheep-shearer; person who removed wool from domestic sheep.
Shearman: cutter of sheet metal with straight bladed shears.
Sheath Maker: manufactured sheaths (scabbards) for bladed weapons and tools – knives etc.
Sheepman: alternative name for a shepherd.
Shepster: yet another name for a seamstress.
Sheriff: a legal official with responsibility for a county or shire. The word comes from 'shire reeve'.
Sherman: shearer of woollen garments.
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.
This collection of some of the best, wittiest, and most unusual Victorian writing uses careful observations and acute comments to bring to life the variety, the energy, and the often harsh reality of the society that produced and inspired one of England's most famous authors.
Dickens's England was a time of unprecedented energy and change which laid the foundations of our own modern society. There was a new world coming into being: new towns, new machines, new and revolutionary ideas, new songs and dances, music-halls and popular novels, as well as new wealth for the smug middle classes. For others, however, there was poverty, struggle and hard labour.
Dickens's characters with whom we are so familiar - orphan Oliver and cunning Fagin, snobbish Pip, spendthrift Mr Micawber, pompous Podsnap and humourless Gradgrind - grow out of his own observation. Here, Dickens and his great contemporaries - John Ruskin, Henry Mayhew, Charles Darwin, Thomas Hardy - take us into the heart of what Elizabeth Barrett Browning called 'this live, throbbing age, that brawls, cheats, maddens, calculates, aspires'. This is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand more about the world of our great novelist Charles Dickens.