As part of the ongoing archive project at Hitchin Museum, documents are being repacked and sorted in readiness for the new study centre in the North Herts Museum.
As the volunteer team of local history enthusiasts work through the large collection, they are uncovering some hidden gems. There are many photographs of the district showing the changing villages and towns of North Herts. There are also some interesting reminders of life in the past, such as this one.
This is a handbill from the early 1800s advertising the services of Thomas Smith, a local chimney sweep and nightman. A nightman’s job wasn’t pleasant and involved emptying human waste from the many cesspits around the streets.
The products of both professions, i.e. soot and human waste, were sold to farmers as fertilizer. This handbill has a receipt for payment by a farmer in Codicote on the reverse.
This project has been funded by EERAC (East of England regional Archive Council) and SHARE Museums East.