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    Updated on Feb 25, 2020. Posted on Feb 25, 2020

    12 Jobs I Still Can't Believe Used To Exist Way Back In The Day

    Fancy being an orgy planner?

    1. Ale conner.


    In medieval times, English communities would appoint an ale conner whose job was to travel from inn to inn testing the wholesomeness of bread, ale and beer. Yes, that was an actual job: drinking beer and eating bread for a living. Ale was more likely to go off back then so you would occasionally get a mouthful of sour, fusty beer, but it seems like a small price to pay for such an epic job TBH.

    2. Orgy planner.

    Columbia Pictures

    Ancient Romans loved orgies. These no-holds-barred parties weren't just about sex, they were huge feasts that required the best food as well. Just as we have wedding planners, the Romans employed orgy planners to make sure the orgy definitely went with a bang (pun intended). One orgy planner (Gaius Petronius) went on to write a very expert book about Roman debauchery: The Satyricon.

    3. Herb strewer.

    Big Machine Records / Giphy

    London was pretty stinky in the past. No, that's a lie. It was actually VERY stinky. However, back in the 17th century, wealthy people had a way round that: they hired herb strewers to walk ahead of them scattering fragrant plants like basil, lemon balm, chamomile and lavender to mask the pong of the sewage-laden Thames. This could definitely work on the Tube in summer.

    4. Knocker-upper.

    The knocker-upper for the mills in #Bingley & #Saltaire tapped on the window lightly so neighbours didn’t get a #free #wakeup call. #WakeyWakey

    Firstly, this job isn't at all what it sounds like. Got that? Good. Secondly, the idea of working as someone who gets up early and carries a big stick around tapping on windows to wake others for work doesn't sound that bad, especially compared to some modern day jobs. Thirdly, how handy would this service be in this day and age of constantly letting your phone die, which is also your alarm clock? Bring back knocker-uppers.

    5. Garden hermit. / Creative Commons

    Garden hermits – or ornamental hermits, as they were also known – were basically living garden gnomes for rich people, housed in specially-built huts on a landowner's estate. They first became popular during the 18th century: one family had a hermit who was essentially paid to just sit in a shed all day and look wise. This could be a great job for the modern era, especially if the shed has wi-fi.

    6. Nomenclator.

    ABC / Via

    Ever get so drunk at a party that you forgot the names of everyone you spoke to – and what they said to you? If so, you definitely need a nomenclator. Nomenclators were slaves or freedmen retained by wealthy Roman officials to remember the names of people they met in boozy social settings and what you spoke to them about. Very handy, but it could also cause some serious next-day cringing.

    7. Lector.

    Nickelodeon / Giphy

    A lot of people say they don't have time to read these days, so what could be better than being paid to do just that? Lectors were employed in the early 20th century to read newspapers and educational material to Cuban factory workers. It must have been like recording a podcast every day. Imagine how good at pub quizzes you'd be if you spent your life reading novels and encyclopaedias aloud?

    8. Tucker in.

    FOX / Giphy

    This job appeared on a 19th century census, and is described as "a maid who attended the bedroom and 'tucked in the bedclothes'." How nice would that be? "Summon the tucker-in, darling, I wish to go to snoozyland". Was there also a maid who read a bedtime story and gave you a glass of milk too? Let's hope so.

    9. Monthly nurse. / Creative Commons

    In the 18th and 19th centuries, women were expected to rest in bed for at least a month after giving birth. To help make sure they got enough sleep and recuperation, well-off families would hire a monthly nurse to look after both the new mum and her child. These restful weeks were called confinement; in this day and age of Netflix binge-watching, four weeks in bed sounds pretty darn good.

    10. Curse tablet maker.

    NBC / Giphy

    This is another extremely odd but presumably satisfying Ancient Roman job. Curse tablets were thin sheets of soft lead with curses written on them that were then nailed to altars or the walls of temples. The curse writer had to sit and listen to people spill the tea all day and then turn their woes into a curse. One curse tablet found by historians read: “bind every limb and sinew of Victorius, the charioteer for the Blue team.. the horses he is about to race… blind their eyes so they cannot see and twist their soul and heart so they cannot breathe.” Yikes.

    11. Barber-surgeons. / Creative Commons

    In the Middle Ages, doctors didn't like to dirty their hands with something as barbaric as barbers were called in to chop people open instead. After all, they were pretty good with a razor and had steady hands. Sweeney Todd definitely gave these limb-hackers a bad name, but what if we brought back the practice in 2020, given how hard it is to get a GP appointment? You could go to get a haircut and have your tonsils removed at the same time. Efficient.

    12. Town crier. / Creative Commons

    As you can probably tell from the photo above, town criers do still exist. However, the profession itself is extremely ancient. Before the majority of people could read or write, important news was loudly announced by a town crier. Now, it's quite a rare and niche job. The career definitely needs to make a full comeback, not least because It can be incredibly hard to get people's attention these days.

    Just imagine it: you could send a town crier around to the person who changed their number or ghosted you on Tinder to shout: "HEAR YE, HEAR YE: NATALIE SAYS SHE DIDN'T EVEN LIKE YOU ANYWAY SO WHATEVS". Ideal.

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