Archive for May, 2019

Post from 1929

31 May 2019


Miss J Richmond
The ?Wakes
Middleton Road


Hotel ?Münchnenhof
Vienna VI

It is rotten luck you getting mumps. Cheer up! I do hope you haven’t them too badly. We are having a wonderful time. Each place seems as good as the last. Vienna really is a lovely town – very ?huge. The shops are very nice – we seem to spend our mornings shopping. It is a long business when you can’t talk. This National history museum is rather a fine building. We spend all our evenings at the opera and it is too marvellous. We are doing a tremendous lot!

Love Stella.


(Opinion from my father:

Stella is, quite frankly, an idiot. Instead of the detailed report on the growth of Fascism that we expected, the silly person is buying hats to wear to the opera!

I hope she felt foolish about her lost chance to prevent World War Two!)

No news update today except to say that the election results are out and the Daily Herald says it is a Labour landslide. Details to follow.

30th May 1929

30 May 2019


It’s election day! “Vote against slums today!”

“As the polling booths each add their quota to the dramatic story, telephones, telegraphic and broadcasting instruments, printing presses, all kinds of rapid duplicating machines, illuminated screens, and electric signs from all over the country will be set in operation from moment to fateful moment.” (The Daily Herald)

Ramsay MacDonald says “I am not a Communist. I never have been. I do not believe in them.”

Baldwin’s “eve-of-the-poll broadcast was the effort of a dispirited and defeated man. About it there was an air of complete weariness”.

The DH thinks that Churchill is in trouble in his constituency in Epping. “His ways with hecklers have given offence”.

“Mr. Herbert Morrison, who has an unrivalled knowledge of the position in London, broke into verse:
Whether it’s wet or whether it’s fine,
Vote for Labour well up to time.

There is an obit of JR Green’s wife, Alice Stopford Green – I did not know that she collaborated on A Short History of the English People with him. She was also an active Irish Nationalist – Wikipedia says she was involved in gun-running, as well being an elected member of the Senate of the Irish Free State.

“Examination of stains on the walls of the villa of Miss Branson, the murdered Englishwoman of Les Baux, near Marseilles, have led Dr Beroud, chief of the Police Technical Laboratory, to report to the police that the stains are not those of human blood, as previously thought”.

Ramsey MacDonald has spoken about the relationship between Britain and France. He thinks that the French do not understand the burden that the post-war loans to France have made on Britain, and “we are a little hurt to see that our sacrifices and burdens are not appreciated at their full value”.

There is a pome with apologies to “Sunny Boy”:

Stanley Boy

Though trade’s depressing,
You are so refreshing,
Broccoli will grow, Stanley Boy.
Miners are starving,
Let them go on starving,
You’ll pull us through, Stanley Boy.
You made a statement,
We know its worth.
There’s no abatement
Of poverty on earth.
And though the slums are appalling,
Let them still keep calling,
Your Safety First, Stanley Boy.

The Catering section of the small ads is headed Beanfeasts, etc.

A badger turned up at Southend railway station and was chased around before being captured. It was put in a police cell for an hour and then removed to a menagerie.

An American aviator, Miss Marvel Crossen, has set a record for women flyers of 24,000 feet.

The body of the missing banker has been found in a wood! He appears to have shot himself.

An ad says that babies should be fed evaporated milk.

“The smartest and latest bathing suits for this season will all have some black in them, mostly black knickers with brightly coloured tops. … A delicate shade of Nile green will probably be popular. A pretty suit in this colour worn by one of the millgirl mannequins had the green bodice shaped like a waistcoat coming down to a point over the black knickers.”

There is an ad for a 3-shilling B&B in Battersea, “homely Labour people”.

1929 reading: The Girls of the Rookery School (book #167)

29 May 2019


Ethel Talbot, 1929.

Today in 1929 I read a book published this year, The Girls of the Rookery School, by Ethel Talbot. I’ve found her unreliable in the past; this one is reasonably decent. It has that early century love of the Sussex Downs, and quotes Kipling’s Sussex by the Sea.

Peggy is a new girl at the Rookery School, having previously been taught by a governess. She is a romantic and has a thing about rooks. The school building, “one of the smaller of the stately homes of Britain”, had a rookery in the firs in its grounds until fifty years ago. Then there was a fierce storm, the rooks left and set up a new rookery a mile away, and the son of the house was drowned, having apparently stolen a ruby from his parents, which was never seen again. The schoolgirls have a society named after him, the Roger Shelley Society, because they believe him innocent.

Peggy at first finds games, which seem to be mostly cricket, difficult, as she has never played before. She is also worried because her aunt has told her she is “original” and she worries about being thought eccentric. The understanding head tells her that “to be able to be one’s own self without shame, without following blindly with the crowd, is one of the greatest gifts of all – as long as the while our aim is high”. Eventually she feels “one with every player who was playing for School”. Matron suggests that she may lose her romantic self:

now I suppose that next time I have you in here [the San] you’ll be talking games, games, games, till I’m fairly deaved with hearing you; and you will have forgotten the rooks and such-like, that you talked about last time?”
“Oh, Matron, no!” Peggy turned, shocked out of the shyness which she always felt in Matron’s presence. “Oh no, Matron, I couldn’t. There’s two bits of me you know.”
Peggy turned to walk towards the Avenue again.
“Ah,” Matron’s voice followed her, “and so there is with most of us, I reckon.”

Having found her talent for cricket (left-handed bowling), Peggy makes it up with her friend Polly:

In the cloakroom their arms were round each other; their hot cheeks were pressed together; they were kissing each other for the first time.
The friendship which had seemed cut short was only just beginning after all!

There is a sub-plot about the visit of a school inspector:

“We’ve never had an inspection before … It’s a an absolutely new idea. Miss Graham [the head] decided on it. He’s coming some time this term.” …
In school … laughter was a thing unknown; work-hours were carried through with more than usual strenuousness. The coming of the Inspector was considered “worse than the Junior Cambridge,” according to the Middles, as they stodged away.

The inspector turns out to be Maud’s aunt, and visits incognito as far as the girls are concerned:

But Maud’s aunt was not the expected Inspector with a beard and glasses. Oh, I know all about that!” Miss Steel’s voice was cheery. “Times change and Inspectors with them you know. You’ve all been reading old-fashioned books. …. Miss Ware is certainly one of His Majesty’s Inspectors, and being temporarily in the district, she received a request to inspect this School. … Maud, your aunt asked me, as she left the room, to explain to you that it has been impossible for reasons of etiquette to invite any of you to tea until this ‘ordeal’ was over. … ”
“I knew perfectly well that Aunt Mary had got some awfully brainy kind of job. That’s why she’s had to come down here on a sort of half-and-half rest-cure. Still, I never bothered my head, of course, about what her job was! Well, after all, if you come to think of it, I suppose every Inspector’s got to be somebody’s aunt!”

The book is good, albeit in passing, on staff having lives and characters of their own. Matron tells Peggy a theory of hers about jackdaws having stolen the ruby: Peggy tells her it’s “”an awfully interesting idea””. “”Well, it just came to me with thinking, as things do,” said Matron diffidently, but in friendly tones.” The teachers arrive a day before the pupils:

the night before term opened was the mistresses’ own night. Was the weather cold – as it can be at Rovingdean! – then huge log fires would be lighted, they knew, by Matron’s orders in each bedroom. The dinner with the Head would be a jolly one. The after-dinner coffee, served in the mistresses’ common room, would be jollier still.

Other bits I liked:

“”These slippers too; I’ve never seen a girl bring so many pairs. You don’t want to look downright silly, do you?”” How many pairs does Peggy bring … ?

Peggy’s previous holidays by the sea at Westbourne or Eastmouth with her governess. “Gloves always; a band playing almost incessantly; and Miss Trott either staring at picture-postcards through the shop windows, or pointing out celebrities in whom Peggy felt no whit interested.” I would like to know who the celebrities were.

Aunt Mary’s char, who is paid ninepence an hour and has “”never seen an O-Cedar mop nor a Bissell before, and swept the bungalow windows – or tried to – with the new vacuum cleaner.”” (product placement … both of these brand names still seem to exist and sell mops)

Surprised to find that Ethel Talbot does not have a Wiki article, though there is a very short account in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature. This gives her dates as 1880 to 1944 and says she was born in Sutton Coldfield, lived in Edinburgh with a friend, EM de Foubert, and then in London. This book is mentioned as having a “strong sense of setting”. When I have some breathing space I’ll see if I can find out any more about her, and also add the frontispiece to this post.

28th May 1929

28 May 2019


The Daily Herald reports more Tory misinformation in election leaflets. Mr MacDonald was enthusiastically received in Middlesbrough and Stockton. He has been defending the Labour Party’s record in government in 1924. “There was no day that passed but it was told it was its last.” Liberals and Tories effectively conspired against them.

The parties are still arguing about whether Lloyd George promised that the Kaiser would be hanged – he said what he actually said was that the Kaiser would be thrashed, which he says he did. Mr Baldwin is tired and angry: “As I came along the road this afternoon [in his constituency of Bewdley, where the famers greeted him as Stanley Boy], I was very much tempted to go to Astley Hall (his own residence) and send a telegram saying I will never go back to London.” Stink bombs were thrown at a meeting held by the Tory candidate for the Exchange Division, Sir James Reynolds. Jennie Lee has an article about how young women will vote; they want to see “more happiness, more health, less drabness and drudgery around them”.

There is a pome about Baldwin, starting “On the top of the Tariff Tree / The Bungle Baldwin sat / But his feet you would not see / On account of his Safeguarding Hat”.

A soda fountain exploded in Clapham and broke a girl’s leg.

The reports of the missing banker were unfounded, but there have been more possible sightings. There is now a £500 reward.

The London General Omnibus Company has decided to allow smoking on upper decks, but not lower.

The Victorian (Australia) Aerial Derby has been won by a Cirrhus Moth light ‘plane.

A pianist, Karl Delhees, has set a record of continuous piano-playing of 76 hours and 15 minutes; what he played is not stated.

A Popular Selection from the May records list is I Faw Down and Go ‘Boom’.

There have been thunderstorms in southern England, and some damage from lightning.

A film about Emma Hamilton, The Divine Lady, is reviewed very poorly: “an expensive dullness … and too little honest human nature”. I don’t think I’ll go.

Three boys have been fined for swimming in the canal in London; hundreds of people stopped to watch them and threw coppers for them to dive for, leading to a risk the bridge would collapse.

11% of deaths in the first three months of the year were caused by influenza.

The Isle of Man is running out of Manx cats because summer visitors take them – particularly Americans, who take kittens for their friends.

In local news, I am currently in Gloucester so have used the Gloucester Citizen.

William Whale of Sweet-briar Street was in court for having nicked 7s 7d from his gas meter. He said that he was unemployed and only had 8s a week to support his wife and child, which the Magistrate said was no excuse. He was treated leniently and bound over in the sum of £5.

The Gloucestershire Education Committee has approved the building of a new hostel for students at the College of Domestic Training. Students come from all over the country and the Dominions.

The number of wholly unemployed people in Gloucester has gone up from 917 in May last year to 1,206. There is a lot of unemployment among coal miners in the Forest of Dean.

“The Second Mrs Tanqueray” is on at the Hippodrome, and is “exceptionally fine”. The Legion of the Condemned is on at the Luxe; it is a silent war-film with sound effects. “Gary Cooper takes every advantage of the opportunities for emotional acting.” The film “Fire” is praised for “an abundance of humour and action … [and] the necessary leavening of pathos”.

A short-furred Tabby Cat answering to “Pat” has been lost in Stroud; reward.

The elderly gentleman takes a nap

28 May 2019


Unheardofly, he napped a few feet from the young matron.

27th May 1929

27 May 2019


The bleakness of the news all ’round has led me to escape into 1929. I now have a news blackout for current-day news and am experiencing the news of 1929 day-by-day.

There are not very many national newspapers for that period on the British Newspaper Archive. I am currently going with the Daily Herald (wiki link), which is a left-wing newspaper with an interesting history – ended up as the Sun.

So today, Ramsey MacDonald has given a stirring call to the nation as the election nears. There have been “thrilling scenes of welcome” to him in Darlington. The German Social Democratic Party sends good wishes to the Labour Party for the elections. There has been an incident of hooliganism when young men threw bags of sand and chalk at the cars of the Labour candidate for Stafford, Len Smith, and his supporters. “Mr Smith subsequently expressed the hope that there would not be a repetition of this behaviour. It might, he said, lead some people to make reprisals, and they did not want that kind of thing.” The Labour candidate for North Hammersmith has issued a writ for libel against two local papers which said he had poked fun at the Boy Scouts and the Special Constabulary.

Two missing Australian aviators have been found safe.

There have been several sightings of the missing banker, who may be in a confused state.

A goods lift fell on a 9-year old in Soho; the child is in hospital.

A bullock being driven through Bath found it very hot and lay down in the streets and slept for hours.

Covent Garden porters formed a guard of honour for the marriage of Virgina Willys, the 18-year-old daughter of an American businessman. I do not know why. A different marriage, that of Alice Butcher and Robert Lister Matthews, was stopped by the police as Lister / Matthews was already married.

There was a mention of the ongoing trial for murder of 19 Czechoslovakian Gypsies, who were also accused of cannibalism, but very few other details, not even the country this is taking place in.

A headteacher killed himself by drinking weedkiller and also shooting himself; he had rung the police beforehand to ask them to send someone ’round in an hour.

The Coalfields Distress Fund is continuing to be administered, with some criticisms that money should be handed out faster.

There are six ads for booklets about birth control.

Dr Bernard Hollander (wiki link with good picture), speaking at the South Place Ethical Society (of which my great-grandfather was a member, though he died in 1906), said that “sleep is greatly facilitated if, after closure of the eyelids, we gently try, without straining, to look towards the centre of the forehead”.

I have not read the sporting pages because I do not care.

The paper’s composition staff had had an outing to Southsea, with a motor tour of Hampshire villages.

The paper also includes a pome about bindweed.

The weather is forecast to continue sunny with possible thunderstorms.

In local news (The Portsmouth Evening News), two tricycling ice-cream vendors collided. A biography of the Prince of Wales says that he prefers “lively music to classical compositions; a clever banjoist gives him great pleasure”.

There is a recipe for Orange Tartlets, A Good Luncheon Sweet, which I might try.

There is local apathy about the elections, possibly because of the hot weather. The Labour candidate for Portsmouth South, Jessie Stephen (wiki), has spoken to a meeting of servicemen and told them that the view that only the Tories are friends to the forces is wrong. There is a long description of the various posters used in the campaign. There’s a political ad to corset-makers, telling them that their trade is not safeguarded and that 302,208 pairs of corsets have been imported so far this year. There are apparently two Conservative candidates standing in Portsmouth North, because of falling out between local Tory groups.

Films on include Mademoiselle Parley-Voo (wiki) and Hard-boiled Haggerty.

The paper also notes that Braemar Council has introduced litter boxes, with an implication that this is a new thing.

There are three houses at Sandown on the Isle of Wight called Oidunno, Unoit and Onitsown. The paper calls these “unusually informative house names”.

A local woman has been found dead in a passage-way, apparently having cut her own throat with a knife stolen from a butcher’s shop; her husband said she was subject to delusions.

A tattooed man, possibly called Harold Goldin, was found in St Albans having lost his memory.

A man gave himself in to the police having opened a window in a house with intent to burgle the house: he said to the police “I have left my paws on a window in Cavendish Road”.

The Hayling Field Club visited the prehistoric ridgway between Butser and Winchester Hill. “The inspection of other items of interest in the neighbourhood completed a most enjoyable outing.”

The issue includes Chapter XI of The Mark of the Three Fishes, a mystery. See image above.

Jobs advertised include a photographic Improver, and home knitting using knitting machines. Rooms advertised include those for Business Girls and Business Young Ladies.

There is a notice from the Children’s Guardians that anyone taking a child for a fee must report this to the local authority within 48 hours, under the Children Act 1908. Otherwise a fine of £25 or six months’ imprisonment is possible.

Someone has lost a large Tabby Cat named Peter. Five shillings reward.

There is an ad for a free trial of lessons in the Ukelele, Singing, Dancing, Elocution, Banjo, Mandoline.

A 32-year-old woman calling herself “LONELY” “desires to correspond with a superior working man; genuine; view matrimony; genuine”.

There is an ad to deal with “accouchement” and then find a home for the child.

That’s all the news for today.