The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2173   Message #3412910
Posted By: Rob Naylor
02-Oct-12 - 04:30 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Poverty Knock
Subject: RE: Origins: Poverty Knock
r.padgett: Poverty Knock interesting re rent man, as the noise of the loom has been questioned!

Never heard anything about the rent man, and ALL my female relatives of my mother's generation, both sides of the family, were "Poverty Knockers", some for a short time, most for all of their working lives.

As I said above a couple of years ago, the old-model Yorkshire *woollen* mill looms (as opposed to Lancastrian cotton looms)definitely made a sound that could be rendered as "poverty knock". I've heard them! My relatives always said that that's why they were called Poverty Knockers.

And the clincher is that Yorkshire people, particularly in the West Riding, however hard they struggled, would never admit to being in "poverty"...it's one thing to refer in humour to the sound a loom makes, another entirely to personalise the poverty to the knock of a rent man. My eldest aunt was denied the chance of a grammar school education, even though she passed the exams, because my grandparents would have had to get financial help to be able to buy the uniform. Such help *was* available, but there was NO WAY they'd ever consider asking for "charity". If they couldn't pay their way they went without. And that went for the whole village. So my auntie Nora went into t' mill rather than doing what she's always dreamed of and becoming a teacher.