Ah, the sounds of morning …
tea kettle pouring,
and the pelting of peas upon windowpanes.
I thought you might be.
Pea pelting was the work of “knocker ups” in England and Ireland before alarm clocks put an end to the profession.
Note, gentle reader, that “knocking up” bore no resemblance to our modern slang terminology (ahem).
In fact, it was a valued service generally provided by elderly women and men, and occasionally undertaken by police constables looking to pad their paychecks during early-morning patrols.
Each morning, the knocker up was charged with rousing sleeping people so they could get to work on time. She would use a heavy stick called a truncheon to knock on clients’ first-floor doors. For residents above arm’s reach, the knocker up would wield a long stick, often made of bamboo, to tap upper-story windows.
Some of the more adventurous knocker ups, like Mary Smith of London’s Brenton Street (shown below), employed pea shooters to hurl dried peas at windows until the sleeper within woke up.
In return for their services, knocker-ups were paid a few pence a week.
Now you know!