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The honourable company of “whip-minders,”


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A Whip-Minder in Covent Garden.
The honourable company of “whip-minders,” was a body of twenty women who exercise their privileges by the authority of an ancestor of the Duke of Bedford.
They were on duty in the early hours of the morning, from 3 a.m. to 10 a.m., holding the whips of carters who have brought produce to the market. This, however, is not the whole of their occupation.
They had an intimate knowledge of the position and whereabouts of the vehicles and their guardians, and, with the aid of husband or son, would often give useful information to any merchant in search of a particular cart or lorry among the seething crowd in the busy hours.
They have also on many occasions been of great help to the police in catching thieves.
Like that of orange-sellers, the status and business of whip-minding was often kept in the same family for long generations.
The motor car destroyed much of this trade by 1912.

 

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