A Journeyman was a skilled worker who has successfully completed an official apprenticeship qualification in a building trade. They are considered competent and authorized to work in that field as a fully qualified employee. A journeyman earns their license through education, supervised experience, and examination. Although a journeyman has completed a trade certificate and is able to work as an employee, they are not yet able to work as a self-employed master craftsman. The term journeyman was originally used in the medieval trade guilds.
Journeymen were paid each day, and this is where the word ‘journey’ derived from- journée meaning ‘a day’ in French. Each individual guild generally recognized three ranks of workers; apprentices, journeymen, and masters. A journeyman, as a qualified tradesman could become a master, running their own business although most continued working as employees.
The painting below gives us some indication of what it was like in Ramsgate in 1851, when Queen Victoria was on the thrown
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