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'Boater Down' Labourer

Discussion in 'Labourers' started by Bay Horse, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    'Boater Down' or 'Boater Down Labourer' has come up several times recently while researching family around Tipton area of Staffordshire.

    As far as I can see, a boater down was employed in an ironworks (an earlier census also gives the occupation as 'forgeman'), but would anyone have any idea what a boater down might actually do?
     
  2. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

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    Do you know a particular ironworks that had his job?

    Googling around I find mention of "knock down" steamboat construction, where the parts (such as the hull) are fashioned at the ironworks, but are assembled closer to the site where the boat will be used. This is blacksmith-type work on a large scale. Other things built at Tipton ironworks are bridges. Some research into bridge parts might reveal an answer.

    I've had obscure job descriptions in my lot that reference a very specific spot in an industrial production line. This sounds like one of those.
     
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  3. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    I think you're right, Barb.

    Certainly ironworks around that area provided a lot of iron for bridges. There's a mention too of locomotives, as well as boats.

    I've been researching various other ironworks in the area - Biddulph, for example, but have yet to come across any 'boater downs' engaged there. Only at Tipton - and there appeared to be quite a number of ironworks there.
     
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  4. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Thinking about it, I bet the museum at Dudley would know.
     
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  5. arthurk

    arthurk Well-Known Member

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    Not having seen the entry, I'd wondered if it might be a badly-written Beater Down (whatever that might be), but it seems the question has been asked before:
    Code:
    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/soc.genealogy.britain/for6hRwrdKA
    and someone suggested Bolter Down. I'm trying to imagine that with a Black Country accent, and I wonder if it might be feasible. I'm sure others know the accent better than I do, though.
     
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  6. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I reckon Bolter Down is a good bet - the meaning of which can be found at
    https://
    culturenl.co.uk/festivals/north-lanarkshires-war/museums/job-index/
     
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  7. gillyflower

    gillyflower Always caring about others

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    I really have no idea. You would think it would be something relating to a - boat though.:)
     
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  8. Bonzo Dog

    Bonzo Dog Well-Known Member

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    I visited a number of ironworks and forges in the 1960's and 70's, including some at Tipton, but can't recall ever having come across the term. Arthur could well be right as a combination of "forging speak" and some of the local accent/dialect variations used to be quite something, often bordering on the unintelligible. Beyond that though, I'm about as clueless as everyone else.
     
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  9. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    An enquiry on another forum asks the same question. The answer was 'bolter down' and it was a suggestion, a wild guess, that the particular person in question could bolt down the two halves of a casting box.
    Other entries on the same census page were ironworkers.
    The entry in doubt was very hard to read with 'bo?ter down'. The third letter obscured and 'boater down' written in later.
     
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  10. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Mm, I did wonder about the dialect. And it can be, as Bonzo says, a very difficult accent to understand. (My mother-in-law was from Dudley).

    We're definitely all thinking along the same lines.

    Thank you, everyone. :)
     
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  11. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Breaker down? :reading:

    Putting 'boater down' into Ancestry search throws up an awful lot of 'boater downs' from the Black Country, in particular the Haycock family from Horseley Heath (as in, Horseley Ironworks) in 1911. Lodger William Cooper writes in his own hand 'boater down, ironworks', but son of household Charles Haycock is a 'braker down, ironworks'.

    I think it must've been a local term.

    My dad would've known this, I'm sure. :confused:
     
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  12. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    So...'Bolter Down' becomes 'Bo'ter Down', written and generally accepted as 'Boater Down'. And that's what I'm going with.

    This first appeared as the father's occupation in a 1871 baptism at St. Martin's, Tipton.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
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  13. Bonzo Dog

    Bonzo Dog Well-Known Member

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    Doubt if this site has a definitive answer, but the forum Black Country Forges and Ironworks is a compelling read, with masses of information about Tipton, it's people and industries and the surrounding area.

    Code:
    www.blackcountrymuse.com 
     
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  14. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Ooh. Thank you, Bonzo. Not come across that site before.
     
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  15. Bonzo Dog

    Bonzo Dog Well-Known Member

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    Enjoy it BH, it really makes a bosting (Black Country for very good) read and most posts contain anecdotes that bring the area back to life, warts and all.
     
  16. janetbooth

    janetbooth Top Dog Stalwart

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    Thanks from me too. I have now bookmarked the site for future reference.

    Janet
     
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