August 2014: Advertisement for a scavenger in Lurgan

PRONI’s Document of the Month for August is a printed notice advertising for the post of a Scavenger in Lurgan town 1846.

Image: Printed notice advertising for the post of a Scavenger in Lurgan town 1846. This document, which comes from the records of the former Lurgan Borough Council, shows a job advertisement for the post of a Scavenger for the town of Lurgan, County Armagh. Local Authority records for towns such as Lurgan provide many interesting insights into everyday life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

 

Gavin McMahon from PRONI explained:

“ One has to remember that this post was advertised back in August of 1846. This was a dark period for Ireland with the famine having just begun and disease rife in many towns and cities. Many major towns would have had a scavenger employed by the local commissioners with their main duty to ensure that all streets were cleared of manure and soil. This was also a period before the age of motor vehicles so one can imagine the amount of waste being produced from the horses and cows that were being driven down the streets.

This post was advertised during a summer month and the need to clear such waste and ensure water pumps were operational would have been to the fore of requirements for the town. Even though the post was not one of the best jobs in the world, and carried this rather unfriendly title, it did have its perks. With all that manure, the scavenger could have had the best garden in the town.”

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