Flying into Everest…….

  In 1932, a manager of a woman`s clothes shop in Yorkshire set his sights on a place in history by attempting the first ever solo ascent of Mount Everest. His name was Maurice Wilson and he had a rather cunning plan. He would conquer Mount Everest by crash landing …

Beards and beef tea………

  When Matthew Robinson inherited the title of Lord Rokeby in 1793 he was already 81 years of age, As an ex Member of parliament he had strong views on just about everything. He was a fervent believer in the health giving properties of fresh air and exercise. He walked …

The Six foot high club…..

  East Thistle Street in Edinburgh was the site of perhaps one of the most peculiar clubs ever to open its doors in Scotland; namely the Six foot high club. Opening in 1826, membership was only granted to people who were six foot or over. Admittance rules were strict. Each …

Ulysses and Trams…..

  Of all the many books inspired by Ulysses, one of the oddest is surely The Bloomsday Trams: Dublin’s Tramway Fleet of James Joyce’s Ulysses, by a David Foley. The author modestly admits in his introduction that he ‘was unprepared for how difficult this task was to become’ although he …

The euphemism……

Is the euphemism dying out? Growing up in the 1960’s there was an entire sub-lexicon of phraseology to cover this. It was the Golden age of euphemisms. Nobody died of pneumonia, diphtheria or tuberculosis, they were peaky, then poorly, then passed over. Some adults had to be watched because they could turn …

Dr Wansbrough`s celebrated nipple shields…..

More wonderful Victorian health advice…. Nipple shields were made from a variety of materials in the 18th and 19th centuries, wood, ivory and lead(!) the most common. They were intended to protect the mothers sore nipples. They were often perforated allowing the baby to feed through them (probably with considerable difficulty).  These unperforated …

Public Impotency Trials

Apart from death, one of the few ways one could dissolve a Catholic marriage was proof of impotence. But how on earth could you prove it? .The only valid way at the time was to participate in a “public impotency trial” As bizarre as it may sound, church officials aided …

Hair……

I came across this strange photograph of a man and his rather odd haircut which made me think about hair and hair styles. It is probably fair to say that hair styles are a mirror that reflects individual, collective and stylistic histories. It is one of the only parts of …