Those Humble Occupations

For all those ancestors whose occupations seemed ever so humble…….

Stone breaker, breaking stones for roads.

So it appeared on the census for a little girl in my family tree in 1851.

Such a seemingly menial occupation, my tree is littered with them but not so menial when considering these intriguing snippets

The Stone Breaker

Stone Breaker by Edwin Landseer 1830

    • In 1784 the first mail coach went from Bristol to London in 16 hours
    • The roads were atrocious with ruts a meter wide and six to eighteen inches deep in mud in Winter
    • John McAdam was appointed General Surveyor of roads in 1827, his roads were slightly raised and made up of  small stones the same size and weight
    • By 1830 women, children and men were employed to break stones for the roads, sieving the fragments so no stone was longer than 2.5cm or heavier than six ounces, an overseer with scales would weigh them
    • By 1836 it was considered that Britain had the best roads in the world and journey times between London and Bristol had been cut in half


Rock on humble ancestors

For more Intriguing snippets follow the link or to explore more occupations, even the most humble, take a look at our theme of occupation

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