At every stand for hackney-coaches in the metropolis, there is one or more persons termed watermen, whose occupation is to attend to the horses, during any temporary absence of the coachman, to feed and water them; and when the coach is hired, to open the door to the passenger, for which he receives a halfpenny from the coachman on quitting the stand.
These watermen are all licensed, and wear a badge with their respective numbers engraven on it.
The figure in the Plate is represented in the act of carrying two buckets of water; his legs are wrapped with hay-bands,—a means which the watermen resort to in rainy weather, or when the streets are very muddy, in order to keep their legs dry.
Source: Picturesque representations of the dress and manners of the English by William Alexander (1767-1816). London: Printed for Thomas M’Lean by Howlett and Brimmer, 1813.
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