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  • #91
    Oops!

    Got my pages out of line.

    Going to Woolwich not Shoe Lane.
    Cleaning menís dormitories not picking oakum.

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    • #92
      I see that on May 31st, 1880 she did the journey in reverse, from Woolwich to Wandsworth stopping off at Newington overnight to sample their bread and gruel. This time she did pick oakum in payment.

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      • #93
        Interesting stuff, Gary!
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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        • #94
          Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
          Interesting stuff, Gary!
          Its quite early, Anna - about the time she finally split up with her husband, I believe, and already the vagrant pattern appears to have been set.

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          • #95
            Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
            Debs,

            This one doesnít appear in your list, do you have it already?

            St Saviours Union, Surrey (Newington Vagrant Ward).
            Vagrant Admission and Discharge Book 1880.

            Admitted 22/4/1880: Mary Ann Nichols; age 35; laundry; slept last night at Wandsworth; picked oakum; going to Shoe Lane.
            Thanks, Gary! I'll add that one in (corrected version because I read to bottom first) to my notes too.

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            • #96
              Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
              I see that on May 31st, 1880 she did the journey in reverse, from Woolwich to Wandsworth stopping off at Newington overnight to sample their bread and gruel. This time she did pick oakum in payment.
              St Saviours Union, Surrey (Newington Vagrant Ward).
              Vagrant Admission and Discharge Book 1880.

              Admitted 31/5/1880: Mary Ann Nichols; age 34; laundry; slept last night at Woolwich; picked oakum; going to Wandsworth.

              And for her troubles she was again rewarded with 6 & 1 of bread and gruel for her supper and breakfast.
              Attached Files

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              • #97
                Helluva photo, Gary....thanks.
                To Join JTR Forums :
                Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

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                • #98
                  That's his grandmother knitting merkins for the export market, How...It's why Donald Trump always refers to "My fellow Merkins"...

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                  • #99
                    Junk was the name given to old ropes and cables once used on ships. These were cut up and then finely picked into fibres to create oakum. Oakum was then mixed with tar or grease and used as caulking to fill in the gaps between the wooden planks of ships to make them watertight.

                    Picking oakum was used as a punishment in prison, and in workhouses as a way of able-bodied inmates earning their board and lodging.

                    Prisoners serving hard labour would cut the rope into two foot lengths and then strike it with a heavy mallet to remove the very hard tar in which it was coated. Once this was done, it was passed to prisoners who were serving a lesser sentence: men, women and children. They then had to uncoil, unravel, unpick, and shred the rope into fibres.

                    The work was monotonous, unpleasant, and created sores on blackened fingers. The rope was held in place by a iron hook held between their knees as they worked. Sometimes they would use an iron nail or spike, or a piece of tin or knife to work on the fibres, but fingers were found to be the best.



                    Reminds me of when I were a lad and used to sit in a cold, dank basement in Billingsgate removing whelks from their shells. The whelks were kept fresh by means of constantly running water, and your fingers absorbed the water and were shredded by the rough exteriors of the shells. We had to be there by 5.30 on a Sunday morning and used to get the first District Line train from Dagenham East. When it was cold we used to yearn for the good old days spent up warm chimneys ��.

                    But you got 10 bob for each sack of whelks you processed- 10 bob! My weekly pocket money was only 2/6 at the time. We easily got through half a dozen sacks in a morning (the in-shell whelks smuggled out under our West Ham bobble hats helped reduce the workload).

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                    • That is interesting about the oakum. It looks like they simply--or with difficulty--separated the ply. I always pictured the process as complete shredding down to basic fibers. (Probably everyone understands rope or yarn making; fibers to roving to single ply thread/yarn/rope to combination of single ply to many ply for strength. Thus the old "rope walks".)

                      Some people are allergic to jute which made the rope of those days. I have done a lot of fiber arts but could never do hooked rugs because my husband was allergic to the usually used jute backing. He had asthmatic reactions to a short list of substances and jute seemed to be one. I mentioned this to my best friend and she said jute rope causes a skin reaction on her hands. SO...........think of picking oakum........ Allergy to jute I think is somewhat common. No wonder Victorian people had such long stays in infirmaries and asylums. (Not to mention the physically damaging make-work projects like stone breaking...)
                      The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                      • Lovat Lane

                        Apologies for the diversion, but speaking of my Billingsgate experiences reminds me of an interesting discovery I made a while back. The cold, dank basement was in Lovat Lane, just across the road from the market itself. In this photo* it was roughly where the ‘Tubby Isaacs’ sign is. I’ve no idea if it was Tubby’s whelks we shelled. I think we got our dosh from a man called Bill in the main market building. He paid us 10 bob for each sack label we produced.

                        Take note of what look like white plastic boxes at the entrance to the lane on the right. They are actually blocks of ice. Before the market building was erected in the 1870s, Dark House Lane was opposite Lovat (Love) Lane across Lower Thames Street (see next post).

                        2C967202-DAD3-47F4-A766-77C705206BDE.jpeg

                        * https://spitalfieldslife.com/2014/04...gsgate-market/

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                        • Dark House Lane by Gustav Dore

                          9CE0F7FD-B479-4237-A1D7-B33875DD7B5E.jpeg

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                          • Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
                            That is interesting about the oakum. It looks like they simply--or with difficulty--separated the ply. I always pictured the process as complete shredding down to basic fibers. (Probably everyone understands rope or yarn making; fibers to roving to single ply thread/yarn/rope to combination of single ply to many ply for strength. Thus the old "rope walks".)

                            Some people are allergic to jute which made the rope of those days. I have done a lot of fiber arts but could never do hooked rugs because my husband was allergic to the usually used jute backing. He had asthmatic reactions to a short list of substances and jute seemed to be one. I mentioned this to my best friend and she said jute rope causes a skin reaction on her hands. SO...........think of picking oakum........ Allergy to jute I think is somewhat common. No wonder Victorian people had such long stays in infirmaries and asylums. (Not to mention the physically damaging make-work projects like stone breaking...)
                            Thanks, Anna, I wasnít aware of jute allergies. That would have made the undertaking even more painful for some.

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                            • Hey Gary, is that Louis's barrow I see in your picture?
                              Thanks for your time,
                              dusty miller

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                              • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
                                Hey Gary, is that Louis's barrow I see in your picture?
                                Hi Dusty!

                                I must admit, I havenít followed the barrow discussion over at Casebook too closely, but Iíd be surprised if that particular design was ever horse-drawn.

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