View previous topic | View next topic


Page 4 of 7
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

303264.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:13 pm Reply with quote

From the latest World Wide Words newsletter:

On Good Friday 1664, Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary, "Home to the only Lenten supper I have had of wiggs and ale." Though they were sometimes described as being like Good Friday buns, ancestors of our hot-cross buns, they seem to have been linked not only with the end of Lent but with any special occasion; Clement Miles noted in Christmas in Ritual and Tradition in 1912, "In Shropshire 'wigs' or caraway buns dipped in ale were eaten on Christmas Eve." They were also recorded as being associated with St Andrew's Day on 30
November, for some reason notably in Bedfordshire.

303528.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:58 pm Reply with quote

Trousers, to go back a bit, were outlawed in the city of Rome in 397, (tentatively dated to the 7th of April), a decree which was pretty much repeated in June, the same year, which tends to suggest that the first one had had little effect. Boots were also prohibited; the punishment for being caught with either was exile. The laws are recorded in the Theodosian Code, Book 14.10.2 and 3. Text here, although I'm afraid I couldn't find it online in English.

312433.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:05 am Reply with quote

I don't think this really fits anywhere; perhaps except as a not to the trouser stuff.

This is an article from the University of Leeds:

How underpants led to medieval literacy:

In the 13th century, as more people moved into urban centres, the use of underwear increased – which caused an increase in the number of discarded rags that were a cheap alternative in the manufacture of paper. This, in turn, was (according to the reserachers) the most important factor in literacy rates in the middle ages; moreso than the invention of the printing press.


312438.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:17 am Reply with quote

Very good. No obvious home for it, as you say, but we gotta use it. Maybe a note to the thing about reading without moving your lips?

Frederick The Monk
312505.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:42 am Reply with quote

COuld work as a Gen Ig on the myth that mediaeval peasants were illiterate - which they weren't.

312508.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:44 am Reply with quote

To which we could add, in the notes, “they ate spiced food because their meat was rotten.”

Frederick The Monk
312526.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:01 am Reply with quote

and the 'fact' they were all short.

312527.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:04 am Reply with quote

There is also a lot of good stuff on the fact that there were many same-sex marrages through history, despite many thinking it is a new-fangled thing. I have tonnes on this if it is ever needed.

319215.  Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:28 am Reply with quote


321243.  Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:29 am Reply with quote

Q: When did it become fashionable to look scruffy?
F: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s.
A: 1939.

During WW2, it was necessary to divert labour and other resources from clothes production to munitions. Therefore, old, shabby, scruffy, patched clothes were a visible badge of patriotism.

President of the Board of Trade, Oliver Lyttelton, said that men who did not look shabby should be ashamed of themselves.

Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar coined the phrase “Fashion is out of fashion.”

When US servicemen arrived in Britain in 1942, their US government-issued guide to life in the UK warned them not to think that the natives looked “dowdy and badly dressed” because “they do not like good clothes or know how to wear them” - rather it was because they “know that they help war production by wearing an old suit or dress until it cannot be patched any longer. Old clothes are ‘good form’.”

Of course many working-class people, who had been poor before the war, were now able to dress better than they ever had - either because they had free uniforms (in the armed forces, and in organisations like the Land Girls), or simply because rationing meant they got their fair share of what little was available.

The rich, by contrast, often dressed down, as a contribution to morale; they had vast wardrobes of pre-war clothes which could easily have kept them smart for the duration.

It was illegal to wear heels of more than two inches.

Women, however, were still expected to look smart - this was thought good for morale - but on no account fashionable. To this end, the Board of Trade’s “Make Do and Mend” campaign included advice from Mrs Sew and Sew

on how to keep old clothes respectable.

S: ‘London 1945’ by Maureen Waller (John Murray, 2005).

321251.  Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:39 am Reply with quote

Incidentally, there was a huge black market in clothes; the Scotland Yard department set up to combat the black market was known as “the Ghost Squad.”

Q: When would being patriotically shabby protect you from the ghost-busters?

Last edited by MatC on Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:10 am; edited 1 time in total

321330.  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:42 am Reply with quote

I just did some original research (asked my mum) and her memory is that you dressed as well as you could, but that wasn't very well. She also confirms that they used to draw stocking seams up the backs of their legs, but says that nobody was seriously trying to pretend that they were wearing stockings, it was just a fashionable look. They used something called Myners Liquid Make-up (not sure of the spelling) which was apparently specially made for the purpose, but which came off on your clothes if you weren't careful.

321404.  Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:37 pm Reply with quote

I remember a brand of make-up in the sixties called Miners, so that might be what she was thinking of. According to my mum (deceased but I remember asking her about it) you could also use eyebrow pencil to draw the aforesaid line.

321459.  Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:38 pm Reply with quote

And gravy browning was also used to give an impression of tan stockings.

321746.  Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:42 am Reply with quote


From February 1942, the following rules applied to men’s apparel in Britain (due to wartime shortages/diversions of labour and other resources):

By law, all jackets were single-breasted, with a maximum of three pockets, three buttons on the front and none on the cuffs. Belts containing metal or leather were illegal. Waistcoats could only have two pockets. Elastic waistbands were illegal, and trouser legs of a greater width than 19 inches were banned. What Fflash’s mum made of all this, I can hardly bear to think.

But the real storm of protest - including outrage in the Commons - came from the order that turn-ups on trousers were now illegal, banned and verboten. Hugh Dalton - newly-appointed President of the Board of Trade - stood firm, and tailors who were caught making trousers a bit long, accidentally-on-purpose, so that their customers’ wives could turn them up at home, were arrested and prosecuted.

S: ‘London 1945’ by Maureen Waller (John Murray, 2005).


Page 4 of 7
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group