As part of our partnership with Wessex Museums (made up of Dorchester, Poole, Devizes – Wiltshire – and ourselves) we have this from Poole Museum.
Granny Cousins was a Poole lady whose job it was, in the days before watches and clocks became common, to go about the town of Poole and wake up the rope-workers and others by hammering on their windows with a long pole. The most fascinating part of the story is that she is said to have started at three in the morning – pretty grim hours for her, but who was the poor workman who was first on her list and had to be up so much earlier than the others? Perhaps it was a case of last in, first to get up?
Granny Cousins died in 1927 – within living memory, almost anyway, for many – and it is interesting to think that her work was still necessary as late as the last part of the nineteenth century when she must have been in her prime. She is often referred to as the last of the ‘knocker-ups’, a role which must reach back centuries.
More about Granny Cousins next time….