HE cost a tanner a week. But no-one begrudged paying the local knocker-up for his crack-of-dawn services.

"He was far better than an alarm clock", says Jennie Lancaster of Nutgrove. She was responding to a recent query about who the last of these window-rappers was and when the more reliable buzzer-clocks of modern times put him out of a job.

Jennie has particular memories of her family's knocker-up, a little Mr Peters of Nutgrove who also partnered his wife in running the local chipshop in Heath Street.

"When I was young", she adds, "my dad worked at Sutton Manor Colliery. He had to be up very early to make the the long trip to the pit on his push-bike.

"Mr Peters came around each workday morning with his long pole with three wire prongs at the top. He scratched at the bedroom window until someone answered him".

At the outbreak of the 1939-45, Jennie, who still lives at Nutgrove (in Reservoir Street) was a 15-year-old St Matthews Girl Guide. "By 1940-41, this school-cum-church needed fire watchers on duty each night", she recalls. The Guides were recruited for one night's duty each week and Jennie's three-girl team included friends Jennie Davies and Nora Lyon.

"The ARP (air-raid precaution staff) taught the girls how to use water jetting stirrup pumps and to deal with incendiaries. Each Wednesday night found the young trio of us in the school. Camp beds were provided for naps, just so long as the air-raid sirens didn''t wail out.

"On summer nights we used to sit on the flat roof, studying the stars", adds Jennie.

Often sleep- deprived as the result of Wednesday night duty, the teenagers, who were all in employment, had to be up, back home and ready for work by 8am.

They kept oversleeping until Jennie's dad arranged for Mr Peters to knock them up at 6am each Thursday, at their fire-watching post.

"We paid him tuppence each (a total of 2p in new money) for that one day", she recalls, "but when the war ended we got a pleasant surprise. We were paid one shilling and sixpence (just over 7p) for each night we had done firewatching"

And she signs off: "I don't know when Mr Peters gave up his knocker-up job, but everyone seemed to rely on alarm clocks after the war".

WELL, was Mr Peters the last of his breed? If you know anyone who did a window-tapping round in post-war times, then please drop me a line at the Star.