Back in 1846, when the weekly bin collection was a service of the future, Lurgan was advertising for the position of ‘scavenger’.
It was a unique role in which the successful candidate would ‘sweep and carry away’ all soil and manure from the streets of the town.
The advertisement was initially published on August 3, 1846, and posted by the “commissioners for paving the town”.
Among the responsibilities for the successful applicant, who started after 10 each morning, was checking public water pumps every day for faults, reporting instances when footpaths have not been swept and to “take all legal means to prevent all nuisance”.
Gavin McMahon, from the Public Record Office (PRONI), which released it as the publication of the month, said the job advert offers a special insight into everyday life in the nineteenth century.
“One has to remember that this post was advertised back in August of 1846.
“This was a dark period for Ireland with the famine having just begun and disease rife in many towns and cities.
“Many major towns would have had a scavenger employed by the local commissioners with their main duty to ensure that all streets were cleared of manure and soil.
“This was also a period before the age of motor vehicles so one can imagine the amount of waste being produced from the horses and cows that were being driven down the streets.
“This post was advertised during the summer months and the need to clear such waste and ensure water pumps were operational would have been to the fore of requirements for the town.
“Even though the post was not one of the best jobs in the world, and carried this rather unfriendly title, it did have its perks. With all that manure, the scavenger could have had the best garden in the town.”