The costume of Great Britain - Dustman

Made:
1808 in London
maker:
William Henry Pyne
publisher:
William Richard Beckford Miller

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Dustman: Aquatint, hand coloured (with text) from 'The costume of Great Britain' by W.H. Pyne. Pub. by W. Miller, 1808.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Aquatint, hand coloured (with text) from 'The costume of Great Britain' by W.H. Pyne. Pub. by W. Miller, 1808. Numbered as Plate 28, Dustman.

In the early 1800s, dustmen – then often called ‘night soil’ men – usually announced their arrival by ringing a bell. Their job was to remove piles of rubbish, dirt and ‘night soil’, a polite term for human excrement, from outside of houses, domestic cesspits and the street.

Once the rubbish had been collected using shovels and baskets, it was removed to the outskirts of town. The rubbish was then sorted to find anything that could be re-used, motivated more by thrift than concern for the environment. The ‘night soil’ was re-used as farmland manure.

Details

Category:
Art
Object Number:
1983-164/7
Materials:
aquatint, paper
type:
print
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication

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