IN days before reliable alarm clocks were available to the working classes, who knocked up the local knocker-up?

That's the tongue-in-cheek question raised in an amusing little letter from Mrs W. Atherton of Leach Lane, Sutton Leach.

Picking up on our ongoing knocker-up theme, she relates a true story from pre-war times when her father-in-law, who had to be at work very early each day, employed the once familiar 'man with the long tapping pole' to rap on his window, to rouse him from his slumbers.

"One morning he was awake before the knocker-up arrived. After tapping on the window, the man leaned his pole against the house wall and moved to the kerb to light his pipe.

"As he did, so, my father-in-law quietly opened the window and pulled the pole up into the front bedroom. When the knocker-up turned round, he was really bewildered, wondering where his pole had vanished to. Because there was nobody else about so early in the day".

Meanwhile, the in-laws were quaking with laughter upstairs, says Mrs A, who dates the incident back to the late 1920s or early 30s, but can't remember when then last window-rapper was around.

And she signs off: "When telling our young grandson, Jonothan McEvoy (I promised I'd mention his name!) about it, he had a good laugh and out of the blue asked: 'I wonder who, then, knocked the knocker-up up'!"

LOVELY little yarn, that! Anyone else able to supply a further anecdote? Then please write to me at the Star.