The white van man is a staple part of our culture. Every town, every city and every road in the UK plays host to a van laden with tools, dutifully driven by a tradesperson. That could be a plumber, a handyman, an electrician and yes, a removal expert. But what is the history of the white van man? What similar roles can we see in days gone by, and does the stereotype match reality? My House Removals investigates.
Possible Origins Of The White Van Man
Whatever the technology available at the time, settlements have always had a skilled tradesperson that goes from place to place, fixing things and helping the community.
Nowadays, a white van man delivers plumbing, home maintenance and electrical work. In the future, that could bring in IT technicians as well; mobile computer experts that fix the increasing number of smart devices we have in our homes. Looking back through history, many of the old trades have disappeared following industrialisation and mass manufacturing; cobblers, blacksmiths and coopers to name a few.
What’s a white van man without the van? White cart man, white barrow man? Blacksmiths might not have had the vehicle, but they would have been seen as the go-to person to help fix a problem, like a handyman is today.
Unfortunately, the modern usage of the term ‘white van man’ carries negative stereotypes. It is a shame that so many skilled people are being lumped together in this way. All the hard work and good will associated with having a trade is being eroded by the press, with accusations of bad driving, rudeness or rogue businesses.
We say no to that! The white van man should be seen as the go-to person for those in need. They are an enterprising, helpful bunch who have carved a career out of their own talent. Those who put down the white van man should reconsider their language. Long may he endure!