The Worst Jobs in History: Two Thousand Years of Miserable Employment
, 2005 - History
- 224 pages
A no-holds-barred look at the most unenviable jobs of the last 2,000 years As befits the man behind Baldrick, Tony Robinson has uncovered life in the underbelly of history. Whether it's swilling out the crotch of a knight's soiled armour after the battle of Agincourt, risking his neck in the rigging of HMS Victory, or as 'Groomer of the Stool' going to places where none of Henry VIII's six wives would venture, Tony endures the worst jobs imaginable to get to the bottom (sometimes literally) of the story. From the Roman invasion to the reign of Queen Victoria, Tony has met the challenge of seeking out the worst jobs of each era. The Gunpowder Plot drew Tony to the role of the Saltpetre Man who collected human waste because its nitrate content could be turned into gunpowder. In the same vein, he has revealed some of the worst jobs behind the building of the great medieval cathedrals. With Tony we discover the dire conditions of Nelson's Victory, where the most common form of retirement was being sewn into a hammock with a couple of cannon balls and dropped over the side. Then there's the impact of the Industrial Revolution, a source of wealth and power for the few, but a cornucopia of lousy jobs for the many. Richly illustrated with artwork, photographs and diagrams, The Worst Jobs in History really gets into the grime of how life was for ordinary people, and provides a vivid alternative (and fairly disgusting) history of Britain.