View Full Version : My ancestor's occupation
29-11-2005, 6:17 PM
I'm really puzzled over the occupation of my great-great-uncle William Crone, aged 37, on the 1901 census (he is listed as the 3rd person on the page, 'Wm Crone'. His occupation looks like it says 'hand chairman' - which doesn't make any sense (to me!). Twenty years earlier, in 1881, William is a 'railway station clerk'; the 1891 census return for this family is so faint, it's difficult to even see if William was on the census. Can anyone shed any light?
Sorry, I've tried to upload the census page image, and apparently it's too large to upload on this site. Can anyone shed any light, mark 2....!
29-11-2005, 7:31 PM
Hello Clare :)
Without me looking at the image I wonder, could it be Hand Charman by any chance?
CARMAN / CHARMAN / CARTER / CARRIER - drove a vehicle used to transport goods
29-11-2005, 7:48 PM
Thanks Hope - I've been trying to sort out over the past hour or two, why I can't upload this census image. Sorry, very unhelpful for the thread - still haven't sorted it out.....
Thank you for your reply - yes, the census looks like it actually says 'hand chanman' - probably 'hand charman' - I've never seen this anywhere else. Do you know why 'hand' is used as a prefix? OK, we would say, 'handyman' etc, but I've not seen this before as an occupational term.
29-11-2005, 8:03 PM
The 1901 census index has him as a 'hand chairman'.
If it read 'chainman' he could have been someone operating chain driven machinery.
Have you looked at other neighbouring entries? Anyone working in some similar occupation which may give a clue?
29-11-2005, 8:27 PM
Thanks, Geoffers - yes, it may be 'chairman' or 'chainman', though there's no dot above the 'i' on the census page so it looks like 'chanman'. Straight after 'hand chanman' (or whatever), it says '6/2' in very indistinct script.
People living adjacent are 'teacher', 'surgeon', 'retired wine merchant' - all living in a fairly posh bit of Hove, it would seem.
Wish I could upload the census page, but it won't do it - any ideas?
29-11-2005, 8:36 PM
Meant to say as well, that William Crone is listed under his 'employer' column on the 1901 census as 'own account', signifying I think that he has his own business...so presumably a man of some means??
29-11-2005, 9:00 PM
It very possibly is.
There were people who were employed pushing (bath) chairs or invalid carriages.
It could also be he had his own business hiring out bath chairs by the hour or day.
29-11-2005, 9:30 PM
Thanks Guy - so there may have been an occupation called 'hand chairman', which was someone who operated (or who was an employee of) a business which hired out bath chairs/carriages (particularly relevant for a beachfront area such as Brighton/Hove?)?
It kind of makes sense - I have a vision of the huts which used to be trolleyed onto the beach as near to the sea as poss so that no-one could get a glimpse of (shock horror) a lady's ankles..!
Perhaps William was running such a business?!!
29-11-2005, 9:58 PM
Hope this helps to make it clearer for everybody to see what has been discussed here... The dot on the i appears to be over the line above, slightly to the right. Brenda
29-11-2005, 10:01 PM
Yes. If it was in a seaside resort or spa town, that would be a clincher for bath chair man. Bit late for sedan chair, I think ;)
29-11-2005, 10:06 PM
Wow, thanks, Brenda - been trying all evening to do this!
Yes, I agree that the census enumerator may have been a bit dodgy with his dots! So, if my g-g-uncle was a 'HAND CHAIRMAN', then it seems this occupation was a kind of 'bathchair' operator?
Has anyone heard of this occupation before?
29-11-2005, 10:32 PM
The hand designation separates him from the donkey chairman who does the same job except used a donkey to pull the bath chairs rather than relying on manpower..
A resort such as Hove would have many such men.
30-11-2005, 1:00 AM
Thanks Brenda, and Clare.......found this on rootsweb
Archiver > SUSSEX-PLUS > 2004-04
A Bath-chair was a form of carriage usually with two wheel at the back and
one on the front. It was pulled by the bath-chairman by a long handle. These
were used, certainly at seaside towns which were visited by invalids and
convalescents and had a hood that could be raised in bad weather.
The local authority issued licenses and stipulated where stands should be.
Some stands can still be found with a metal plate bearing the initials BCS
my partner married into a
REEVES family in Brighton who might be related, were operating what they
30-11-2005, 8:33 AM
Thanks everyone - my question answered!
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