A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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Sub-order 4.—Other Workers in Transport and Communication


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assistant head messenger (Post Office)
is in charge of indoor boy messengers q.v.; allocates duties, maintains discipline, and is responsible to head messenger (751) q.v.
attendant (Govt. Dept.)
assists head of technical section in a museum, gallery, etc., by cleaning and shifting exhibits, keeping records of permanent and loan exhibits specimens, etc., distributing files, letters, etc., and running messages; usually supervised by a senior attendant called chief attendant.
baker's boy ; barrow boy
assists baker's vanman or barrowman (776) q.v. on his rounds by delivering loaves at customers' houses or by taking charge of horse and van while baker's vanman interviews householder; acts as errand boy q.v.
bank messenger
carries pouches containing bills of exchange, banker s drafts, cheques for clearance, etc., between own and other banks in area, and communications between head office and suburban branches of own bank; carries bullion and boxes containing customers' valuables or securities to and from safes in strong room; loads and unloads bullion into and from taxi-cab or other vehicle, and accompanies clerk in charge of bullion on journey in vehicle; in small branch banks, sometimes lights and attends to office fires or heating apparatus, etc.; sometimes also acts as resident caretaker (921) q.v. and is responsible for cleaning of bank.
barrow boy
(i) see baker's boy;
(ii) an errand boy or shop boy q.v. delivering goods with help of hand barrow.
book collector
receives from bookseller (770) q.v., list of books not in stock, ordered by customers, and goes round to publishers to obtain them; usually delivers books which are however, sometimes fetched by collector's boy q.v.; pays publishers for books, in cash, at trade prices, unless employer had running account with publisher; cf. book publisher's collector (942).
book deliverer
delivers books from a circulating library to private houses; usually rides tricycle carrier.
boy messenger
posts letters, despatches telegrams, delivers messages and light parcels, cleans and fills inkpots and does similar odd jobs in banks, insurance offices, business houses, etc.
boy messenger (Post Office)
(i) see telegraph messenger;
(ii) a messenger q.v. working inside G.P.O.
bungey lad
a milk boy q.v. who helps bungey man (776) q.v. in delivering milk from milk float.
collector's boy
assists book collector q.v. by fetching, from publishers, usually in a cycle carrier, parcels of books which are (too heavy to be carried by hand; is usually employed part time on other duties, e.g. packing parcels of books, delivering parcels of books to customers.
colliery letter boy, colliery post boy
a boy messenger q.v. employed by colliery company.
usually a member of the Corps of Commissionaires employed to undertake messenger work of considerable responsibility, e.g. bank messenger q.v. will also attend at entrance of hotels, theatres, cinemas, banks, insurance offices, business houses, etc., to direct and assist enquirers, keep out undesirable persons, etc.; cf. attendant, cinema, theatre (889), door attendant (917).
commissionaire (G.P.O.)
a member of the Corps of Commissionaires engaged by G.P.O. to deliver telegrams during night.
delivery boy
see errand boy.
district messenger ; licensed messenger
delivers messages, letters, fetches and delivers parcels, makes purchases on behalf of customers, pilots them to required places, stands in theatre queues, and performs services of a varied character; is attached to District Messenger and Theatre Ticket Co. Ltd., who lend his services, according to a specified scale of charges, to the public.
doctor's boy
delivers medicines, prescriptions, etc., to patients' houses; frequently acts, in addition, as page boy (900) q.v. at surgery.
errand boy ; delivery boy, parcel deliverer, shop boy
(i) delivers goods from a retail shop, warehouse, etc., to customers' premises on foot, or by bicycle, tricycle carrier, or van; runs errands, delivers bills and accounts; sweeps and dusts shop or warehouse; takes down shutters, cleans brass and windows, etc.;
(ii) runner, small runner, trotter; takes messages, fetches and carries tools, materials, refreshments, etc., for employees in factories and workshops, from one room or department to another; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. cycle errand boy.
errand girl ; runner, small runner, trotter
as for errand boy, but usually delivers goods on foot only; in clothing trades, is sometimes employed as matcher (429) q.v.
girl messenger (Post Office)
obsolete, see girl probationer.
girl probationer (Post Office) ; girl messenger
performs minor duties, such as carrying forms and papers, etc., in headquarter departments of Post Office; attends compulsory classes to qualify by examination for higher appointments.
insurance messenger
carries documents (policies, deeds, mortgages, etc.,) from own insurance office to other insurance offices, or to banks, etc., or from head office to district offices, or vice versa, and performs other duties of messenger q.v.; sometimes also acts as resident caretaker (921) q.v. and is responsible for cleaning and heating of office.
licensed messenger
see district messenger.
(i) carries messages, parcels and documents, sorts and delivers files and papers; directs and escorts enquirers; sometimes acts as commissionaire, porter (759), doorkeeper (917) q.v.; in Government offices, sometimes performs duties of a quasi-clerical nature;
(ii) in some clothing trades, sometimes does work of matcher (429); sometimes specifically designated, e.g. dock messenger.
milk boy
assists milk deliverer (776) q.v. on his rounds or himself acts as deliverer; collects empty bottles and cans from customers' houses; in intervals between rounds, assists at depot in washing bottles, cans and churns.
night messenger
(i) a district messenger q.v. employed on night duty;
(ii) a bank messenger q.v., or other messenger, employed on night duty as night watchman (963) q.v. patrolling premises, attending to telephone, etc.
office orderly
a civilian employed as messenger q.v. in a military office.
parcel deliverer
see errand boy.
portress (for commercial firm)
as for errand boy.
pot boy (builders, etc.)
fetches beer for workmen on buildings, works of construction, etc.; boils up water for tea, etc.
runner, small runner
(i) see errand boy;
(ii) see errand girl.
sample boy
acts as messenger q.v. to commercial traveller (773) and usually also carries samples; cf. bagman (759).
shop boy
see errand boy.
showroom page
a messenger q.v., usually a girl, waiting on showroom assistants (775) q.v. in drapery, millinery, etc., establishments.
submarine company's messenger
as for telegraph messenger, delivering cablegrams received by cable company.
tailor's shop girl
errand girl q.v. carrying material and finished garments between tailoring workshop and wholesale or retail bespoke tailors.
telegraph messenger (Post Office) ; boy messenger
delivers telegrams, and takes back reply (if any); attends compulsory classes to qualify by examination for higher appointments.
(i) see errand boy;
(ii) see errand girl.
tube messenger
takes written messages, and other documents from tube attendant (769) q.v. to destination in works or large offices; sometimes also does work of tube attendant (769).
waiter (Stock Exchange)
a messenger q.v. who delivers telegrams and other communications to members on floor of Stock Exchange; sometimes also acts as doorkeeper (917) q.v.; waters floor periodically with watering can to lay dust; after closing of Exchange, sweeps up litter from floor and puts it in bins for removal.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.