Page 128. " a darling old bird whose hobby was the Higher Thought "
Thomas Troward
Public DomainThomas Troward - Credit: unknown
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Public DomainPhineas Parkhurst Quimby - Credit: Unknown

Information on the Internet indicates that in 1902 there existed a place called the Kensington Higher Thought Centre. The implication of the article is that the Higher Thought movement is concerned with spiritual and philosophical ideas.

The Higher Thought is another name for the New Thought. The New Thought movement is a mind-healing organisation based on religious and metaphysical concepts which was founded in America in the 19th century. Two important figures in the field of New Thought are Thomas Troward (1847-1916) and Phineas P. Quimby (1802-1866).

Page 129. " She could not look at him, because public telephones were not fitted with television dials "
They never did get round to fitting it out with 'television dials'!
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDilapidated British public telephone box - they never did get round to fitting it out with 'television dials'! - Credit: Tony Atkin, Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the lines in the novel which reminds us that it is set 'in the near future'.

In general in Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons keep most aspects of social and cultural life close to how they would have been in  the 1930s.

However, at this point she has ventured to speculate on the technology of the future. Her prediction about private telephone users being able to view the person they are speaking to is, of course, very much in keeping with the subsequent development of the videophone.



Page 135. " ‘Our Lives from Day to Day’ from an April number of Vogue "

Vogue magazine was launched as a weekly publication in 1892, and is still in existence today as a monthly magazine. Presumably 'Our Lives from Day to Day' was some sort of regular feature in the magazine, perhaps providing instruction on how to behave properly in society.

Cover of Vogue Magazine, 1893
Public DomainCover of Vogue Magazine, 1893 - Credit: uploaded by Foxtongue/Jhayne, Flickr
Page 135. " or a painting by Marie Laurencin "
Marie Laurencin in 1932
Public DomainMarie Laurencin in 1932 - Credit: Agence de presse Mondial

 Marie Laurencin (1883-1956) was a French artist and print-maker who moved in the same avant-garde circles as Picasso during the early years of the 20th century.






Page 146. " visit the Pit Theatre, in Stench Street, Seven Dials, to see a new play by Brandt Slurb called ‘Manallalive-O!' "

Stella Gibbons satirises what she describes as 'Neo-Expressionist' drama.

Neo-expressionism currently exists as a term to describe a movement in the fields of painting and sculpture, but this only emerged in the 1970s. Gibbons was ahead of her time here, coining the futuristic term to represent a development of the Expressionist movement, an early 20th century cultural movement in poetry, art, music and drama.

Expressionism placed particular emphasis on expressing emotions and the concept of 'being alive', a feature of the movement which is suggested by the name of Gibbons's imaginary play. It was particularly popular in Berlin in the 1920s, which might account for the unlikely German name (Brandt Slurb) of the imaginary playwright.

Seven Dials is home to several theatres in London's West End.  "Stench Street", unsurprisingly, does not exist.

Page 146. " Mr Dan Langham in ‘On Your Toes!’ at the New Hippodrome "
The London Hippodrome
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe London Hippodrome - Credit: Paul Hermans, Wikimedia Commons

 The London Hippodrome is a real theatre, built in 1900.  Stella Gibbons clearly didn't think much of its structural integrity, if a New Hippodrome was to come into being in 'the near future'.

Hippodrome (lit. "horse stadium) was a common name for theatres and music-halls throughout Britain.

Both Dan Langham and his show appear to be imaginary, but Stella Gibbons may be basing them on performers and productions of the time. She was well-informed about theatre, opera and musical shows, having written theatre reviews for the Lady magazine. Her husband, Allan Bourne Webb (who died in 1959), was an actor and singer, who often appeared on the London stage.