Thomas Jasper

Thomas Jasper one of the last Street Scavengers in Launceston at the age of 81 in 1933.
Thomas Jasper one of the last Street Scavengers in Launceston at the age of 81 in 1933.

Thomas was born in 1852 to Michael and Mary Jasper at Penfoot, South Petherwin. His father was a farm labourer. On leaving school Tom, as he was better known, went to work as a general farm labourer for Mr. William Essery at Tregaller Farm, Daws House. He married Mary Ann Danning (b.1849 at Boyton) in 1877 and they set up home at Langore with Tom working as a farm labourer an employment that he continued in until 1899 when he then worked as a mason’s labourer. It was in 1902 that he came to work for Launceston Borough Council as the street scavenger and he and Mary were now residing in Duke Street, Launceston. A street scavenger in those days, was employed by the local council to keep the streets clean, this would involve the sweeping of the streets after the markets. Extra money could be made from the collecting of horse droppings and selling on for garden manure.
He became a familiar figure around the town with his brush and wheelbarrow, and bore a jovial personality which endeared him to many. He was a remarkable walker for even in his advancing years he would only allow himself a quarter of an hour to walk from his home in Duke Street the mile or so to the town. Mary died in 1922, but Tom continued in his work right up to his 80th birthday eventually retiring in 1932. He had remained in good health until the age of 83, but from then it deteriorated and he died at his home in September 1937 aged 85. He was interred at St. Stephens with a service conducted by the Werrington vicar, Rev. H. J. Moysey. Tom and Mary had no children.

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