Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Edwardian Ladies And The Manchester Ship Canal

This is a scan of a glass negative I acquired on eBay, and for once I have a little information about it, as it arrived with the description "Edwardian ladies with decorative hats in Hastings". The hats are indeed spectacular (one is almost reminded of African ladies who carry great jugs of water on their heads), but it is the faces that capture my immediate attention.

And then, once I focus in, my attention is grabbed by the municipal instruction, crafted in finest brass and screwed into place: "Please Do Not Spit". I remember someone once telling me about the public announcements that used to be featured on the upper deck of trams in Manchester. Some were public health announcements whilst others would urge to public to make full use of the municipally controlled transport infrastructure. On one such tram, two such notices had appeared next to each other at the front of the tram. "Do Not Spit" declared one, whilst its' neighbour admonished people to "Use The Ship Canal".


  1. Do you think they had a premonition about Brexit and the loss of the Empire?

    1. Gather a much fruit and flowers as they could before the import duties went on

  2. Don't you think the woman with the white coat looks like the Duchess from Alice in Wonderland?

  3. Hm, they don't look as if they appreciate being told not to spit. It was obviously one of the pleasures of Edwardian life.

  4. A wonderful detail. Many years ago my mother acquired a heavy red brick made in Kansas and intended as a pavement block. Embossed onto its face was the slogan "Don't spit on the sidewalk". Sometime in the 1890s a Kansas physician concluded that tuberculosis was spread by the then manly habit of chewing tobacco. It's still popular in some regions, especially with baseball players, who spit an extraordinary amount onto the ball field during a game.

  5. The lady at the far right looks lonely and what ever is she doing:)


Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...