London Census 1891 Transcription Blog



Victorian Occupations

A collection of the occupations or job descriptions of the people living in London in the 1890's.  Most of the descriptions are fairly self explanatory, I'll elaborate on the ones that aren't in due course.


Baby Linen Maker A Person who made linen clothing items for babies.
Back Washer cleans the wool in the worsted manufacturing industry
Backmaker a Cooper; made backs, vats and tubs
Backster / Baxter baker
Backus Boy or Back'us Boy kitchen servant, abreviation of: "back of the house"
Badger licensed pauper who wore a badge with the letter P on it, or a corn miller or dealer, or an itinerant food trader.
Badger Hair Dresser, Brush Someone who made, or dressed brushes made out of Badger hair
Bag Maker, Canvas / Paper Someone who made bags out of canvas or paper
Bagman travelling salesman
Bag Merchant A Merchant who dealt in Bags
Badgy Fiddler A boy trumpeter in the military.
Bagniokeeper A person in charge of a bath house or brothel.
Bailie, Baillee or Baillie Bailiff
Bailiff officer of the sheriff, a land steward acting on behalf of the landowner
Bairman / Bareman a pauper or beggar
Baker baked bread and pastries
Baking Powder Maker Someone who made Baking Powder.
Bal Maiden female mine worker who worked on the surface; Pit Brow Lass
Balancer One who operates the "balance" in a coal mine, which is a slope with a pulley at the top where empty coal tubs pulled full tubs up the slope.
Baler A person who bales hay, and in the mills one who baled wool or cotton goods
Balister archer, or crossbowman
Ballad Monger A person who sold printed ballads(song lyrics) on the street.
Ballast Heaver loaded ballast into the hold of empty ships
Ballast Master A person in charge of loading the ballast into the holds of empty ships.
Baller, or Baller Up measured out the balls of clay for a potter
Band Filer metal worker in the gun making industry
Band Sawyer A Person who used a Band Sawing machine to cut wood.
Bandster bound the wheat sheaves after harvest
Bang Beggar An officer of the parish who controlled the length of stay of any stranger to the parish.
Banker dug ditches to allow drainage, placing the surplus earth in banks
Bank Manager Someone who manages a bank
Bank Note Printer, Litho Someone who operates a litho printing machine to print banknotes
Banksman or Browman in charge of the cages at the pit head; aka bank manager
Banner Salesman Someone who sells advertising banners
Baptist Minister A Clergyman in the Baptist Church.
Bar Assistant, Inn Someone who assists in running a bar, pub or inn.
Bar Manager, Inn Someone who managed an inn
Barber or Barber Surgeon A men's hairdresser, also a surgeon
Barber's Lather Boy A Barber's assistant, one whose duties would include lathering customers ready for shaving.
Bard a poet or minstrel
Bareman or Bairman beggar or pauper
Barge Mate Naval officer
Bargee or Bargeman worked on or owned and operated a barge
Barilla Manufacturer made barilla; a sodium salt used in the glass and ceramics trade
Barkeeper Tollkeeper
Barker tanner
Barleyman or Bylawman An official of the manorial courts who enforced the courts orders.
Barmaid serves drinks in an inn, public house or tavern
Barman serves drinks in an inn, public house or tavern
Barmaster The arbiter of disputes in the lead mining industry. They were also in charge of the standard measure for the ore.
Barm Brewer A person who made yeast.
Barometer Instrument Maker Someone who made Barometers
Barrel Filer A person employed in the gun manufacturing industry.
Barrowman A person employed in the coal mines to push the barrow from the pit face to the shaft.
Bartender Someone who serves drinks in an inn, public house or tavern
Bartoner or Barton in charge of a monastic farm.
Basil Worker worked with sheep and goat skins
Basket Maker made baskets
Basketman made wicker products, also emptied the baskets of coal from colliers into barges
Bass / Bast Dresser employed in dressing fibre or matting
Bathing Machine Proprietor One who owned and hired the changing huts used by bathers at the seaside in the 18th century.
Batman an officer's servant in the army
Batt Maker A person who made the wadding used in quilt and mattress making.
Battledore Maker made the beaters used on clothes and carpets etc, to remove dust
Bauer farmer
Baven Maker A maker of kindling. A baven (or bavin) is a thin piece of wood or splint, with the end wittled and curled with a knife and used for kindling.
Baxter baker
Bayweaver one who wove bay (a fine woollen fabric also known as baize)
Bead Maker Made beads
Bead Piercer One who drilled the holes in beads
Bead Worker Someone who worked making decorative items out of beads.
Beadle or Beadel An officer of a church or synagogue whose principle duty was to keep order. Also a town cryer
Beadman, Beadsman or Bedesman A person employed to pray for his employer, or the inhabitant of an almshouse, poorhouse or hospital. also, a tenant employed by the manor for a specific service.
Beamer winds the warp on the roller before putting it on the loom in the textile industry
Bearer worked undergrpound carrying the coal to the bottom of the pit shaft
Beater or Fuller washed and thickened the cloth by treading it underwater with fullers earth
Beaver made felt used in hat making
Bed Maker or Bedding Manufacturer Someone who made beds and bedding.
Bedel or Bedell See Beadle
Bedesman See Beadman.
Bedman sexton
Bedwevere made the webbing for bed frames and also one who wove quilts
Beekeeper or Beemaster A person who kept bees.
Beer or Wine House Keeper usually unlicensed drinking establishments
Beerseller or Beer Retailer same as above, but more like an off-license
Beershop Keeper one who sells beer, not usually licensed
Beeskep Maker A person who made beehives.
Beetler A person who operated a beetling machine, used in the textile trade for embossing fabric.
Beggar Obvious really!
Belhoste tavern keeper.
Bell Hanger installed bells in churches
Belleyetere Bellfounder
Bellfounder (Billiter) bell maker
Bellman A person employed as a watchman or town crier, or a person who worked for the post office and collected letters for the mail coach by walking the streets and ringing a bell.
Bellowfarmer A person who was responsible for the care and maintenance of the church organ.
Bellows Maker made bellows used for organs or blacksmiths fires
Belly Builder built and fitted the interiors of pianos
Belter See Bellfounder
Beltmaker or Belt Maker Someone who made belts.
Benchman, Cabt
Bench Sawyer Someone who cut wood on a sawbench
Bender a person who cut leather
Besom Maker made brooms made of a bundle of birch twigs bound onto a handle
Besomer A person who sweeps with a besom.
Besswarden A person appointed by the parish to look after its animals.
Beveller, Glass Someone who created a beveled edge on glass objects such as mirrors.
Beverages Labourer Someone who works (labours) in a beverage industry such as a pub, inn or coffee house
Bicycle Maker or Repairer Someone who made or repaired bicycles
Biddy female servant, usually Irish
Bill Broker's Clerk
Bill Poster put up notices and signs
Billiard Marker A person who attends on players at billiards and records the progress of the game.
Billiard Table Maker Someone who made Billiard Tables
Billier or Billyman A person who operated a Billy Roller, a machine used in the cotton industry to prepare the cotton for spinning.
Billiter See Bellfounder
Billyman See Billier
Binder bound items, e.g., books, hats etc.
Bird Boy employed to scare away birds from crops
Bird Cage Maker Someone who made Bird Cages.
Bird Catcher caught birds for selling
Birds Nest Seller sold birds nests collected from the wild complete with eggs which were then hatched by domestic birds and sold as pets
Biscuit Baker A Baker who specialised in baking Biscuits
Black Borderer made black edged stationery for funerals
Blacking Maker made polish for shoes
Black Saddler Someone who made cart, gig and other saddles in black leather, as distinct from a Brown saddler.
Blacksmith Someone who forges and shapes red hot iron with a hammer and anvil, also one who shoes horses (Farrier)
Black Tray Maker made Japanned trays
Bladesmith swordmaker or knife maker
Blake Machine Operator Someone who operated a Blake Rock breaking machine, used for crushing rock for road building.
Blaxter or Bleacher bleached cloth or paper pulp
Blemmere A Plumber
Blentonist A water diviner
Blind Maker, House Someone who made venetian or vertical blinds for houses.
Blindsman A person employed by the Post Office to deal with incorrectly addressed letters and parcels.
Block Maker engraved the blocks used in the printing industry.
Block Printer printer who used wooden blocks for printing
Blockcutter, or Blocker A person who made wooden blocks used in the hat trade, or a person who laid down the blocks on which a ships keel was laid.
Bloodletter, or Bloodman used leeches for letting blood, thought to be a cure for many ailments
Bloomer or Bloom Smithy A person who produced iron from iron ore.
Blower A glass blower, or a person who operated a "blowing machine" used to clean and separate fibres in the textile trade, or a person who operated the bellows at a blacksmiths.
Blowfeeder A person who fed the fibres into a "blowing machine".
Blue Dyer or Maker A person who worked with blue dye used by calico printers and laundries to stop the white materials from discolouring.
Bluestocking A nickname for a female writer
Bluffer An innkeeper or landlord of a pub
Boarder or Lodger A person who was provided with accommodation and meals.
Boarding Officer inspected ships before entering port
Board Liner One who covers cardboard with plain or ornamental paper by hand, using paste and brush, or one who passes cardboard into a pasting machine.
Boardman truant officer who checked school attendance, or a tenant of manorial land who paid rent by maintaining the manor's table.
Board of Works
Boardwright, or Carpenter made tables and chairs.
Boatman worked on a boat, predominately on rivers and canals, also a boat repairer
Boatswain ship's officer in charge of riggings & ground tackle and looked after the ships stores.
Bobber one who polished metals, or who helped to unload fishing boats
Bobbin Carrier worked in spinning and weaving sections of the mills
Bobbin Turner made the bobbins used in the spinning and weaving industry
Bobby policeman usually of constable rank
Bodeys or Bodice Maker made bodices for women's garments
Bodger craftsman who made wooden chair legs
Boiler Engineer designed boilers
Boiler Maker, or Boilermaker made boilers, or general metalworker
Boiler Plater made rolled iron plate used to make boilers for steam engines etc
Boiler Smith made or repaired boilers
Boll A person who looked after power looms in the weaving industry.
Bolter A person who sifted meal.
Bolt Finisher Someone who cut the threads on bolts to finish them off.
Bondager female worker on a farm who was bonded
Bondman, or Apprentice bonded to a master for the purpose of learning a skill or trade.
Bondsman stood bond or surety for another where a bond was required by law
Bone Button Turner made buttons using a lathe
Bone Lace Maker made pillow lace
Bone Mould Turner made the moulds for button manufacturers
Bone Picker collected rags and bones aka Rag and Bone Man
Bonesetter set broken bones
Boniface keeper of an inn
Bonnet Maker made bonnets
Bonnet Shape Maker or Wirer, Bonett block maker made the wire base which formed the shape of the bonnet
Book Binder Someone who bound books
Book Cutter Someone who cut paper to make books.
Book Edge Marbler Someone who created a decorative edge effect on the pages of books.
Book Finisher put the finishing touches to books
Book Folder folded paper to make books
Book Gilder, or Book Binder's Gold Layer On, or Gold Layerer decorated books with gold leaf
Bookholder The prompter in the theatre.
Book Keeper looked after the accounts for businesses
Bookman A student.
Book Seller sold books
Book Sewer Someone who sewed books together
Boonmaster A surveyor of roads with the responsibilities of maintaining and repairing the road.
Bootbinder A person employed to operate the machines which bound footwear.
Boot Black polisher of shoes
Boot Clicker punched eylet holes using a machine that clicked
Boot Closer worked in the shoe trade stitching together all the parts of a shoe upper
Boot Finisher put the finishing touches to boots
Boot Fitter fitted boots
Boot Heeler put the heels on boots
Boothman A corn merchant
Boot Knifer cut up parts for boots
Boot Laster  
Boot Machiner or Machinist  
Boot Maker made boots
Boot Maker Paste Fitter  
Boot Repairer repaired boots
Boot Rivetter rivetted boots
Boot Seller sold boots
Boot Sewer sewed boots
Boot Tanner Someone who tanned the leather used to make boots.
Borler A person who made cheap coarse clothing.
Borer travelling salesman or peddler
Borsholder officer appointed by the manor or parish, constable. (in Kent)
Boss Maker, Wood made wooden bosses
Botcher tailor or cobbler
Bottiler or Bottler made leather containers for holding liquids eg wine flasks or water bottles
Bottle Boy pharmacists assistant
Bottle Dealer Someone who dealt in bottles.
Bottle Machinist  
Bottle Washer Someone who washed used bottles for re-use.
Bottler, Cellar worked in a cellar, bottling drinks
Bottom Knocker A sagger makers assistant in the pottery industry.
Bottom Maker A person who moulded the bottoms for saggers in the pottery industry.
Bottomer A person who worked down the pits moving the ore etc to the bottom of the shaft for removal.
Bowdler worked with iron ore
Bower or Bowyer made bows used in archery
Bowker A person who bleached yarn. Also a local term in some parts of Lancashire for a butcher.
Bowler A person who made bowls and dishes. Also a term used for people who made the rounded part of spoons before casting.
Bowlman or Bowlwoman A dealer in crockery.
Bowlminder A person in charge of the vats used for washing raw wool before processing.
Box and packing case maker Someone who made boxes and packing cases.
Box Maker, Card, Cardboard, Fancy, Paper, Wood Someone who made boxes from any one or more of the specified materials or types.
Bozzler A parish constable.
Brabener A Weaver.
Brace Machinist, or Maker, Fancy Someone who machined, or made Braces.
Brachygrapher A shorthand writer
Braider made cord by twisting threads or strips of leather
Braid Trimming Maker Someone who made Trimming for Braid.
Brailler made girdles
Brakeman or Brakesman operated the brakes on the winch at the pit head or on trains or trams
Brasiator A brewer of ale
Brasiler A dyer
Brass Cutter A person who made copperplate engravings.
Brass Finisher A person who polished brass goods.
Brass Fitter A Person who fitted finished brass items.
Brass Founder A person who cast molten brass into moulds.
Brass Plate Maker Someone who made brass plates.
Brass Pole Maker Someone who made brass poles.
Brass Worker Someone who worked in the Brass trade.
Bratman A rough garment maker.
Brayer A person who ground things up in a mortar.
Brazier A person who made or repaired household items made from brass.
Breach Maker A person who made breaches for guns.
Bread Baker A Baker who specialised in baking bread.
Breakman A bricklayer
Brewer brewed alcoholic beverages
Brewer's Drayman Someone who drove the Dray, delivering alcoholic beverages to inns and pubs.
Brewer's Labourer assisted - obvious really
Brewer's Tunman A General Brewer's Assistant, Cleaner and Caretaker.
Brewster brewer, or female brewer
Brickburner A brickmaker who used a kiln to make bricks.
Brick maker, dealer Made and sold bricks
Bricklayer or Brickman laid bricks
Bricklayer's Labourer assisted - obvious really
Bridewell Keeper The person in charge of a lock-up or jail.
Bridgeman or Bridger A toll keeper at bridges.
Bridle Cutter, Harness Someone who cut the leather to make horses bridles and harnesses.
Brightsmith Tin metal worker
Broad Cloth Weaver A person who operated a wide loom.
Broad Cooper A person employed as a go between for the brewery and the innkeepers.
Broderer, Brotherer or Broiderer An Embroiderer
Brogger A wool merchant
Broker Someone who mediates between a buyer and a seller.
Bronzer, Metal Brass Worker.
Broom Dasher A dealer in brooms
Broom Squire Broom maker
Brotherer Embroiderer
Brouge Maker A shoe maker
Brow Girl female employed at the pit head, Pit Brow Girl, or Pit Brow Lass.
Brown Saddler Someone who made riding saddles from brown leather.
Brownsmith worked with copper or brass
Brush Dresser  
Brush, broom maker, seller  
Buck Washer A laundress
Buckle Tongue Maker made the metal points that go in the holes of a belt
Buckler or Bucklesmith made buckles
Buckram Maker A person who worked with buckram (used for stiffening cloth etc) e.g. belts, lapels and collars.
Buddleboy Maintained the vats used in the lead and tin mines for washing the ore
Bud Stuffer
Buhl or Boulle Cutter & Inlayer Buhl is a decorative type of marquetry of patterned inlays of brass, tortoiseshell, or other materials and veneers, used on chiefly French furniture, from the 17th century. The word Buhl is the German spelling of the French word Boulle.
Builder built houses and other buildings
Builder's Labourer assisted - obvious really
Bullion Spinner
Bullwhacker oxen driver
Bumboat Man A person who met ships at anchor, with goods for passengers and crew to purchase.
Bummaree middle man between the wholesaler and the retailer at the fish markets
Bummer army deserter
Bunter female rag & bone collector
Bureler or Boreler A person who made borel, a woollen cloth with a coarse feel.
Burgess A person who represented a borough at official levels.
Burgomaster A Town Mayor
Burl Cup Bearer
Burler quality inspector for clothing
Burler Mender A skilled finisher of woven fabrics.
Burleyman See Bylawman
Burmaiden chambermaid or lady-in-waiting
Burneman carrier of barm or water for brewers
Burnisher Metal polisher
Burye Man grave digger
Bus Conductor, Groom Someone who collected the fares from passengers on Buses or Omnibuses, and also looked after the horses.
Bus Driver, Groom Someone who drove a Bus or Omnibus, and looked after the horses.
Bushel Maker A Cooper, one who makes barrels
Busheler tailor's helper
Busker hair dresser or a street entertainer
Buss Maker maker of guns
Butcher, meat salesman prepared and sold meat for cooking
Butcher's Assistant assisted - obvious really
Butner Button maker
Butter Carver A person who made imprints in butter pats.
Butter Churner Someone who churned butter.
Button Burnisher button polisher
Button Clothing  
Button Hole Hand cut and stitched button holes
Button Hole Hand Stitcher cut and stitched button holes
Button Holer or Hole Maker cut and stitched button holes
Button Maker Someone who made buttons.
Butty The person who negotiated mining contracts and supplied the labour.
Bylawman An official of the manorial courts who enforced the courts orders.