St Wilfrid’s church tower graffiti - plumbers’ marks in context

Mansfield, Nicholas orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5498-9710 (2023) St Wilfrid’s church tower graffiti - plumbers’ marks in context. Folk Life . ISSN 0430-8778

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Renovators of old buildings sometimes discover concealed inscriptions made by past tradesmen. They are a means of communicating with fellow workers and posterity and passing on the traditional culture of the building trade. This article investigates a collection of graffiti created by early nineteenth-century plumbers. It explores how and why these marks were made -in celebration of tradesmen's skills - and deduces their meanings, with particular relevance to the noxious and dangerous trade of plumbing. It analyses how these values are reflected in other surviving English plumbers’ material culture and outlines the wider use of working-class graffiti.

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