Page 80. " her packet of Weights "
1960's advertising poster showing Player's sailor logo
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike1960's advertising poster showing Player's sailor logo - Credit: Felix O, Flickr
Weights were cigarettes made by John Player & Sons (usually known just as Players), a tobacco company established in Nottingham in 1877.

In 1901, Players became part of the Imperial Tobacco Group, but the name Players and the company's distinctive sailor logo were retained.

Weights were originally known as Player's No. 1 Virginia, but the name was changed at the turn of the 20th Century to reflect the fact that the cigarettes were sold by weight, not number.

Follow this link and this link to see some early Weights cigarette packets.

Page 82. " she wouldn't call for sherry, and she wouldn't call for beer, and she wouldn't call for cham because she knew 'twould make her queer "
Champagne tower
Creative Commons AttributionChampagne tower - Credit: ori2uru, Flickr
Pint of bitter
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePint of bitter - Credit: Kim S, Flickr
As mentioned in bookmark p.69, a rivalry developed between George Leybourne and Alfred Vance, two music hall singers of the 1860s.

Following the introduction of the song Champagne Charlie by Leybourne in 1867, Vance responded with Cliquot, Cliquot*. The two performers subsequently sang a series of other songs about drinking, culminating in Vance's Beautiful Beer.

The 1944 film Champagne Charlie features two songs, Ale, Old Ale and Arf of Arf of Arf, which were perhaps also part of this series.

Possibly the lines quoted are taken from the Vance/Leybourne drinking songs. Does anybody know?


*Veuve Clicquot is a make of champagne

Page 83. " What think you of peg-top trousers "
Skirt of a dress in the 'pegged' style (1914)
Public DomainSkirt of a dress in the 'pegged' style (1914) - Credit: Bain News Services

Peg-top trousers are very full and baggy at the hips, and narrow at the ankles.

They were an element of male fashion from the early 19th Century onwards, when men first began to wear trousers.

In the early 20th Century, pegging (creating fullness at the hips and narrowness at the ankles) became popular in the design of women's skirts; peg-top skirts were similar to, although not identical to the hobble skirt.

Peg-top trousers (sometimes known as carrot-tops) have been worn by women from the mid-20th Century to the present time.

Follow this link to see 19th Century men's peg-top trousers.

Follow this link to see 21st Century women's peg-top trousers.

Page 83. " or a pearly coat "
'Pearlies' collecting for charity
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike'Pearlies' collecting for charity - Credit: Garry Knight, Flickr

A pearly coat was originally a coat decorated with mother-of-pearl buttons.

In 19th Century London, costermongers (vendors of produce from barrows or carts) used to sew mother-of-pearl buttons onto their clothes. This tradition was taken up by a young orphan, Henry Croft, who started a trend of wearing pearl-decorated clothing while collecting for charity. This theme was developed by the Pearly Kings and Queens (or Pearlies), a charitable organisation whose Kings and Queens wear elaborately-decorated costumes, although the original mother-of-pearl buttons have been replaced by plastic ones.

Page 84. " The Second Cinquevalli "

Paul Cinquevalli (1859-1918) was the stage name of a Polish-born juggler who was brought up in Berlin.

His real name, depending on the source, is given as Emile Otto Lehmann-Braun, Paul Braun-Lehmann or Paul Kestner.

He first performed in England in 1885, and appeared before the Prince of Wales in 1886.

Although he remained popular well into the 20th Century, the British public is said to have turned against him during the First World War because of his German connections.

Watch a talented juggler in action here:




Page 84. " halls in Hoxton, and Poplar, and Kilburn, and Bow "
Map of Poplar and Canning Town constituency
Public DomainMap of Poplar and Canning Town constituency - Credit: Wereon, Wikimedia Commons
Map of Hackney South and Shoreditch constituency (where Hoxton is situated)
Public DomainMap of Hackney South and Shoreditch constituency (where Hoxton is situated) - Credit: Wereon, Wikimedia Commons

 Hoxton is an area of Hackney, just north of the City of London.

Poplar is an area in the East End of London, in Tower Hamlets.









Map of Hampstead and Kilburn constituency
Public DomainMap of Hampstead and Kilburn constituency - Credit: RichardB, Wikimedia Commons
Map of Bethnal Green and Bow constituency
Public DomainMap of Bethnal Green and Bow constituency - Credit: Wereon, Wikimedia Commons
Kilburn is an area of north west London spread across three boroughs: Brent, Camden and the City of Westminster.

Bow is in Tower Hamlets.

Page 85. " Welsh rabbit "

Welsh rabbit, often known as Welsh rarebit, is a tasty concoction of cheese, butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and beer, served sizzling on toast. In Wales, it is sometimes jokingly known as a Cardiff virgin.

Controversy has raged for many years as to whether the correct name is rabbit or rarebit; to understand the ins and outs of the debate, follow this link.

Recipe for Welsh rabbit/rarebit.


Welsh rabbit/rarebit
Creative Commons AttributionWelsh rabbit/rarebit - Credit: Tristan Kenney, Flickr


Page 86. " the escape of an eel from an eel-man's barrow "
European eel
GNU Free Documentation LicenseEuropean eel - Credit: Pmx, Wikimedia Commons
Manze's Eel and Pie House, Peckham
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeManze's Eel and Pie House, Peckham - Credit: Tarquin Binary, Wikimedia Commons
 Eels are elongated fish, numbering approximately 800 species.


Traditionally, eels were fished from the River Thames where they were plentiful; they were served in an inexpensive dish known as jellied eels.

Jellied eels are prepared by boiling eels in a spiced stock which becomes gelatinous on cooling; they may then be eaten hot or cold.

Jellied Eels
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJellied Eels - Credit: Secretlondon, Wikimedia Commons
The dish was often served in special eating places known as Eel, Pie and Mash Houses, which were common in certain parts of London up until the Second World War. A few still operate today.
Page 86. " on London Bridge "
London Bridge in the early 1890s
Public DomainLondon Bridge in the early 1890s - Credit: unknown

London Bridge spans the River Thames between the City of London and Southwark.

The present bridge (opened in 1973) is the latest in a long line of London Bridges; the previous bridge, built in 1831, was dismantled at the end of the 1960s and sold to an American buyer; it was subsequently reassembled in Arizona.


Google Map


Page 86. " and Battersea Bridge "
Battersea Bridge (2006)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBattersea Bridge (2006) - Credit: Fin Fahey, Wikimedia Commons


Battersea Bridge, which was opened in 1890, crosses the River Thames between Chelsea to the north and Battersea to the south.


Google Map


The present structure replaced a wooden bridge which had existed since 1771 and which had been the subject of paintings by J.M.W. Turner and James Whistler.


Battersea Bridge by Whistler (1859-63)
Public DomainBattersea Bridge - Credit: James Whistler
Page 86. " beneath Lambeth Bridge "
The old Lambeth Bridge
Public DomainThe old Lambeth Bridge

 Lambeth Bridge crosses the River Thames east-west between Lambeth and Westminster.

The bridge is just a short walk from the Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Palace (official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury) and St. Thomas' Hospital.

The present bridge was opened in 1932. It replaced a suspension bridge which had opened in 1862 but which rapidly fell into disrepair and was used only by pedestrians. 



Lambeth Bridge and the Houses of Parliament
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLambeth Bridge and the Houses of Parliament - Credit: Garry Knight, Flickr



Google Map
Page 87. " the not-so-nice ones - Foresters, and the Sebright "

Foresters' Music Hall (also known as The Royal Foresters') was situated on Cambridge Heath Road in the Mile End area of London's East End.

The building had been the Artichoke public house, and was converted into a music hall in 1875. It closed down in 1917 but was not demolished until 1965.

Follow this link to see a picture of the Foresters' following its closure, and to read more of its history.

Sebrights Music Hall was situated at 28 Coate Street in the Bethnal Green area of London's East End. Originally a pub called the Sebright Arms, it was converted into a music hall in 1885; at various stages of its history it was known as Sebright's Palace of Varieties, the Belmont Music Hall and the Regent Theatre.

Follow this link to read more about the history of the area.


Location of Cambridge Heath and Coate Street:

Google Map
Page 87. " to pull a pair of bell-bottoms on "
Bell-bottoms, 1969-style
Public DomainBell-bottoms, 1969-style - Credit: Jeanne Boleyn, Wikimedia Commons

Mid-18th Century British sailors wearing bell-bottoms
Public DomainMid-18th Century British sailors wearing bell-bottoms - Credit: George Thomas (1854)
Bell-bottoms are trousers which flare out very widely from the knee downward.

They were traditionally worn as part of sailors' uniforms, but became fashionable for both men and women during the 1960s and 70s. Subsequently, they came to be viewed as symbols of the hippie era, and are now collectable items of retro clothing.

Page 87. " and dance the hornpipe "

The hornpipe is a type of British dance or dance music, traditionally associated with sailors. It is thought to have originated on 16th Century sailing ships.

Watch the Sailor's Hornpipe


Page 87. " were you an actress on the legitimate stage you would be Rosalind, or Viola, or Portia "
Viola (2nd left) portrayed by Wheatley (1771)
Public DomainViola (2nd left) portrayed by Wheatley (1771) - Credit: Francis Wheatley

Rosalind, Viola and Portia are lead characters in plays by William Shakespeare, all of whom at some point disguise themselves as boys or men.

Rosalind is the heroine of As You Like It, who appears in disguise as the young page Ganymede;

Viola is the heroine of  Twelfth Night, who appears in disguise as the young page Cesario;

Portia is the heroine of The Merchant of Venice, who appears in disguise as the young lawyer Balthasar.


Rosalind in a painting by Macbeth
Public DomainRosalind in a painting by Macbeth - Credit: Robert Walker Macbeth













The reference to the legitimate stage draws our attention to the fact that music hall theatre was considered inferior to, and less respectable than, more traditional forms of dramatic art. It also refers to the fact that music hall acts sometimes contravened laws of 'decency', and were sometimes banned on these grounds.

Page 87. " Fannie Leslie, Fanny Robina, Bessie Bonehill, Millie Hylton "
Gaiety Theatre London (late 1920s)
Creative Commons AttributionGaiety Theatre London (late 1920s) - Credit: Michiel2005, Flickr

Fannie Leslie was a music hall performer who toured America between 1870 and 1877. She is reputed to have sung a song about 'a hooped skirt' (a crinoline?) at the Oxford Music Hall on Oxford Street, London in 1893.

Fanny Robina was a music hall 'masher' (male impersonator). She made it as far as Melbourne in 1886 with the London Gaiety Theatre when she played the lead role in Little Jack Sheppard. She also appeared as Faust in the Gaiety Theatre's production of Faust up to Date in 1888.

Bessie Bonehill (1855-1902) was a male impersonator, comedienne and burlesque actress. Originally from West Bromwich, she achieved music hall fame in both London and New York and earned the nickname England's Gem. She also became the owner of a 600-acre estate on New York's Long Island, so she was clearly not as tuppeny-ha'penny as Mr Bliss would have us believe!

Follow this link to see a photograph of Bessie Bonehill.

Millie Hylton (1870-1920), whose real name was Sarah Rudge, was one of The Rudge Sisters, a group of actresses and dancers from Birmingham. She later developed a solo career as a male impersonator. On one occasion she played opposite Cissy Loftus in Don Juan at the Gaiety Theatre, London.

Follow this link to see a photograph of Millie Hylton.

Page 87. " clad in a crinoline "
English fashion-plate (1858) illustrating the use of the crinoline
Public DomainEnglish fashion-plate (1858) illustrating the use of the crinoline - Credit: unknown


The crinolinewhich was to some extent a development of the farthingale,  was an item of Victorian ladiesware from the 1830s onwards.

It began life as a stiffened petticoat made out of a material called crinoline, a mixture of linen and horsehair. However, from the 1850s onwards, as the number of petticoats needed to achieve the desired effect increased, the cage crinoline was developed; this was a steel, dome-shaped hoop which was worn with just one light petticoat.

Interestingly, although crinolines inevitably reduced a woman's manoeuvrability and retricted her access to narrow spaces, they also gave greater freedom of movement to her legs and were less hot and stuffy than the layers of petticoats worn previously.

The popularity of the crinoline began to wane towards 1870 when the bustle became all the rage.

Click here to see a cage crinoline of 1858


Page 87. " or a bustle "
A bustle 1873
Public DomainA bustle 1873 - Credit: unknown


Bustles were fashionable during the second half of the 19th Century, particularly during the 1870s and 1880s.

They were devices worn under the back of women's skirts in order to push the skirt outwards and, ostensibly, help maintain its shape.

The effect of a bustle combined with a corset was to emphasise a woman's waist, bottom and breasts.


Mid-1880s fashion-plate illustrating the use of bustles
Public DomainMid-1880s fashion-plate illustrating the use of bustles - Credit: unknown


Page 88. " Islington, Marylebone, Battersea, Peckham, Hackney "

Map of Greater London Boroughs
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMap of Greater London Boroughs - Credit: Morwen, Wikimedia Commons
Islington is the central part of the London Borough of Islington (10).

Traditionally, it stretches from Islington High Street to Highbury Fields, but the term Islington is sometimes used nowadays to describe nearby areas such as Barnsby and Canonbury.

Marylebone is an affluent, mainly residential, area of central London, situated within the City of Westminster (2).

Battersea is an area of south London, situated in the London Borough of Wandsworth (5).

Peckham is an area of south London, situated in the London Borough of Southwark (7).

Hackney (9) is a London Borough situated in North London; it includes areas such as Hoxton, Shoreditch and Dalston.

Of the areas named, 3 are situated north of the River Thames, two (Battersea and Peckham), to the south. Due to local government boundary changes and name changes which have taken place in the 20th Century, not all the descriptions of the areas listed are quite as they would have been in the late 19th Century.

(Numbers in brackets refer to map locations.) 

Page 90. " crying 'Kiss me, Kate!' "
Ada Rehan as Katherina in an 1887 production of 'The Taming of the Shrew'
Public DomainAda Rehan as Katherina in an 1887 production of 'The Taming of the Shrew' - Credit: unknown

Once again, Mr Bliss is indicating his familiarity with the work of William Shakespeare.

This line is taken from Act II, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew. It is said by Petruchio to Katherina, the heroine of the drama, and the shrew of the title:

We will have rings and things and fine array;
And kiss me, Kate, we will be married o' Sunday.

Full text


Kiss me Kate is also the title of a musical, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, which was first performed in 1948. A film version of the musical was released in 1953.

Listen on Spotify to the song Kiss me, Kate from the musical.



Page 91. " his chilblained feet "
Public DomainChilblains - Credit: Sapp, Wikimedia Commons

Chilblains, also known as pernio, perniosis or erythma pernio, is a condition whereby the skin develops small, itchy red ulcers in response to cold and humidity. It may also be brought on by exposure to very sudden changes in temperature.

The ulcers usually develop on the body's extremities, such as the toes, fingers, nose and earlobes.

Page 91. " with Marie Lloyd as an accompaniment "

Matilda Alice Victoria Wood (1870-1922), better-known as Marie Lloyd,  was one of the most famous British music hall stars. She began performing in the mid-1880s and worked up until her death in 1922.

One of her most famous songs was The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery which she famously 'stole' from Nelly Power.

Other songs in her repertoire included A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good, Oh! Mr Porter and Wink the Other Eye.

Many of Marie Lloyd's songs contained double entendres, and she was renowned for her lewd and suggestive style of presentation; a characteristic that sometimes led to her getting into trouble with the authorities. 

Follow this link and this link to see some photos of Marie Lloyd.

Listen on Spotify to Marie Lloyd singing: A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good

Listen on Spotify to another song made famous by Marie Lloyd: Oh! Mr Porter.


Page 93. " like Cinderella's slipper "
Cinderella and the Prince - illustration from 1865 edition of 'Cinderella'
Public DomainCinderella and the Prince - illustration from 1865 edition of 'Cinderella' - Credit: from a story by George and Edward Dalziel
Cinderella is a character from a fairy tale, of which there are many variants throughout the world.

The most commonly known version in Britain tells of a young girl, Cinderella, who is mistreated by her stepsisters. However, through the actions of a fairy godmother, Cinderella manages to attend two balls where a prince falls in love with her. The prince eventually traces Cinderella through a slipper left behind at one of the balls, which out of all the women in the kingdom fits only her.

Page 99. " the Charing Cross Hospital "

Today the hospital known as Charing Cross Hospital is situated on the Fulham Palace Road in the west London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It was opened in 1973.

Between 1823 and 1957, however, the Charing Cross Hospital was situated on two sites at Villiers Street and Agar Street in the Charing Cross area of Central London.


Google Map