Five famous plumbers

Plumbers have been important to our infrastructure since Roman and Greek times, and it is one of those trades that will always be in demand. But many who trained as plumbers were sadly lost to the profession as fame, fortune, films or football dragged them away. Here are five famous people who began their working lives as plumbers

Sir Tom Finney

The England and Preston North-End footballer was known as the Preston Plumber because, to supplement his footballing income, Finney trained and worked as a plumber. Paid just £12 a week for his footballing endeavours, Tom Finney played for Preston from 1946 until 1960, playing 473 time and scoring 243 goals. He was named Footballer of the Year twice in 1954 and 1957 and he played for England 76 times, scoring more than 30 goals. When he retired from playing in 1960, Finney’s weekly wage had risen to £20, so it was back to the plumbing trade again.

Mario Brothers

Mario and Luigi are American-Italian plumbers, who have to ight the despicable creatures that emerge from the sewers of New York. The two brothers began life as cartoon characters on the Nintendo game platform, and have been re-modelled many times since. They finally made it onto celluloid in the film Super Mario Brothers, starring Bob Hoskins.

Bob Hoskins

Before Hoskins became an actor, he trained and worked as a plumber. The star of movies such as Mona Lisa – for which he was nominated for an Academy Award – and The Long Good Friday, died earlier this year, but during his long, successful acting career he became known for playing cockneys and rogues. In a nod to his early career, Hoskins played Mario in the Mario Brothers, although he said it was “the most dreadful thing I have ever done.”

Michael Caine

Another cockney actor who made the career change from plumbing to acting was Sir Michael Caine. The actor, whose vast filmography includes Zulu, the Award-winning Hannah and her Sisters, six Batman films and Educating Rita, trained as a plumber after he had served with the army in the Korean War. He left the profession when he was offered a job as an assistant stage manager at a theatre in Horsham, Sussex. He was asked to take a small walk-on part in a play and the rest is history.

Thomas Crapper

Not strictly a plumber, Thomas Crapper was the man behind the term ‘crapper’ meaning toilet. Thomas Crapper has been wrongly credited with inventing the toilet – in fact this was John Harrington back in 1596 – Crapper was actually a toilet salesman. He hit fame when he supplied toilets to soldiers’ camps during World War One, and the use of “going to the crapper” by American soldiers caught on from that time.

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