In A Human Moment

Miscellany from the 19th century

Uncovering Cleveland Street: Sexuality, Surveillance and late-Victorian Scandal

Originally posted on NOTCHES:

By Katie Hindmarch-Watson

In the summer of 1889 a 15-year-old London telegraph boy named Charles Swinscow had a monumental encounter with his inspector. Charles had eighteen shillings in his pockets, more than twice his weekly salary. Postal Constable Luke Hanks, after discovering this suspicious amount, extracted a statement from Charles that would eventually lead to three different trials, the imprisonment of four men (two for gross indecency, one for libel, and one for obstruction of justice), the lifelong exile of a noted aristocrat, and an international manhunt for a pimp. Charles, a messenger who delivered telegrams between departments at London’s Central Telegraph Office, St Martins Le Grand, had revealed the existence of a house of assignation at 19 Cleveland Street in Fitzrovia, which offered, among other services, sexual encounters between elite men and telegraph boys.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 5.21.01 PM “The West End Scandals, some Further Sketches,” Illustrated Police News, 4 December 1889.

The subsequent…

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Labiology, or Reading Character by the Lips: 1894

Originally posted on Mrs Daffodil Digresses:

studying lips


They Tell a Story of the Character of Their Owner

Lips That are Loving; Lips That are Selfish; Lips That Promise Happiness; and Lips That Revel in Mischief.

Mr. Bachelor, when you and the dearest girl in the world stood under the ensnaring dimness of the front hallway and indulged in frequent mellifluous osculatory movements annually made permissible by the tender white berries, did you once think that those two smiling, ruby lips might reveal to you in an unspoken language the story of the ingrained affections or peculiar idiosyncrasies of your most devoted inamorata—did you?

To be sure, there is something new under the sun. And the beneficent fates revealed to me the clew of a neoteric, most interesting science, certain to find favor within the sacred precincts of uppertendom.

Strolling down State Street yesterday afternoon, says the Chicago Times man, I overheard a pretty…

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“It is ME”

An amusing story is told of George III, which shows his kindly disposition under a strange circumstance. He was calling one day on an old lady, to whom he and the queen were much attached and whom they had persuaded to take up her abode in their own royal caste of Windsor. The king knocked at Mrs Delany’s door and waited for an answer. The answer came: –

“Who is there?” said a voice from within.

“It is me,” replied the king.

“Then Me may stay where he is,” returned the voice.

Again the king knocked and again the voice said, “who is it?”

“It is me,” was once more the royal reply.

And once again the voice answered, “Me is impertinent and may go about his business.”

But the knocking went on and by-and-by up jumped the questioner, a merry young lady of seventeen, the niece of Mrs Delany. Imagine her horror at seeing the king! She had thought him far away at Kew, where the royal family were staying.

All she could gasp out was, “What shall I say?”

“Nothing at all,” said the kind monarch. “You were very right to be cautious whom you admitted.”


Mary_Delany_(née_Granville)_by_John_Opie    Mrs Delany


Chatterbox (London, England), Saturday, November 12, 1881; pg. 407; Issue 51.

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Tombstone Tuesday [11/11/2014]


Elizabeth, relict of Julian Pithardo Hitchcock, Camberwell, having met with a fatal accident, the following epitaph is inscribed on her tombstone:-

“Sad was her death ! she met it thus:
She was druv over by a bus”

John Bull (London, England), Sunday, January 29, 1837; pg. 60; Issue 842.

While this is not a memorial for the war dead, I would ask you to spare a moment to remember all those lost in conflicts – Lest We Forget

How He Loved Her

how he loved her

Boys of England: A Journal of Sport, Travel, Fun and Instruction for the Youths of All Nations (London, England), Friday, November 11, 1881; pg. 110; Issue 782.

The Massacre At Paris: Kit Marlowe, the Rose Playhouse and me

Originally posted on Mathew Lyons:

massacreAs some friends may know, I spent last week acting in the final six performances of The Dolphin’s Back production of Christopher Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris at the Rose Playhouse on London’s South Bank. The offer to do so came out of the blue, so much so that – as much out of surprise as anything – I initially said no.

I had seen the director James Wallace’s previous, superb revival of John Lyly’s The Woman in the Moon – also at the Rose – and we had got chatting after the show about early-modern drama and such. He said that he was looking for someone to play the part of Peter Ramus (actually Pierre de la Ramée), the humanist scholar; his original choice was unavailable for health reasons and James himself was playing the part until someone else came along. For reasons that are still obscure to me…

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Tombstone Tuesday [04/11/2014]

In Memory of EDWARD HOMERSHAM of this parish.
Died 6th April 1826 Aged 74 Years
Praises on Tombs are words but idly spent.
A Mans past life is his best monument.


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Miss April Advises:

Originally posted on Museum of Love and Mortality:

Dear Miss April,

My problem is manifold. I have terrible gas & I cant find anyone to frack me.
Who should i look to for relief?

Yours {or maybe not}

Frequent Fornicator

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Dear Frequent Fornicator

Have we not met before? Have I not been graced by your gaumless wit in years gone by? Did I not advise you well by wuthering you off to a life of fornicator’s delight? Wellaway, did this not unfold as you expected? My mirth should not be interpreted as hideous vice, lets just accept merriment is in the air.

Flatulence is no laughing matter and can cause significant distress when trying to locate suitable fracking partners. Well, we are all just searching for love aren’t we FF? Herein I toss my mirth aside and offer you my genuine counsel. For a high pressure lad such as yourself, ready to burst out onto the scene like…

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Lady Percy

In the month of May, 1794, died in the King’s Bench prison, this one celebrated female, who was daughter to that famous statesman the Earl of Bute, and first wife to the late Duke of Northumberland.

Ashamed of a title that held her up to public scorn, she had, for a considerable period of time, assumed the name of Mrs. Hall, under which she contracted several debts and for which she was arrested about eleven months before her demise.

During the period of her imprisonment she never left her room, nor spoke a work to anyone except her female servant. For the first five or six months she was melancholy, even to madness.

She retained her beauty to the very last. She bequeathed to her maid-servant three hundred pounds and to a person in the prison all her furniture, &c. &c.

La Belle Assemblée; or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine (London, England), [Friday], [January 01, 1819]; pg. 25; Issue [119].

Epitaph Tuesday


The following Epitaph is on a tombstone in Hereford Churchyard:-

Grieve not for me, my husband dear:
I am not dead but sleepeth here;
With patience wait, prepare to die,
And you will quickly come to I.

I am not griev’d my dearest life;
Sleep on, I have got another wife;
Therefore, I cannot come to thee,
For I must go to bed to she.

Cleave’s Penny Gazette of Variety (London, England), Saturday, June 09, 1838; pg. 4; Issue 35
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