Thursday, 29 April 2010

Hey, did you know.....

That there is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch which use to have gallows adjacent. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hung. The horse drawn dray carting the prisoner was accompanied by an armed guard who would stop it outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like one last drink. If he said yes it was referred to as 'one for the road' and if he declined the prisoner was 'on the wagon'.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were 'piss poor' but worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot they 'didn't have a pot to piss in' and were considered the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500's:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women, children and finally the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying 'don't throw the baby out with the bath water'.

Floors were dirt. Only the wealthy had something other then dirt. Hence the saying 'dirt poor'. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery when wet so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to keep their footing. As winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way hence a threshold.

In those old days, they mainly ate vegetables but sometimes they could get pork. When visitors came over they would hang up thier bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could 'bring home the bacon'. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and 'chew the fat'.

Lead cupsw were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

Who said history is boring?

(Thanks to Ann who sent me this via e-mail)


LadyFi said...

Fascinating. I love traditions and history that still lives on in our language today.

Queenie said...

Ah, I thought that wasn't a Carol original - no double exclamation marks!! Very interesting and entertaining post, though. Thanks for sharing.

Carol said...

Lady Fi - I thought it was interesting too which is why I thought I would share it! (Had nothing to do with the fact that I have a zillion essays to be written and copying and pasting was easy...nothing to do with that at all!!)

Queenie - I didn't even notice that I do double exclamation marks but your absolutely right, I do it all the time!! (that one was for effect :-D).

C x

LilyS said...

I loved this post - v. interesting.

Talli Roland said...

Interesting! I love hearing tidbits like that. Thanks!

Debs said...

So many interesting facts in one post. Loved them and have just read them to husband.

Ayak said...

I think I've heard these before (maybe also from Ann!) but it's still interesting. Makes you want to search for some more doesn't it?

HelenMHunt said...

Brilliant. Interesting stuff.

JJ Beattie said...

Ooooh, I love these little tidbits. So interesting.

DJ Kirkby said...

I've read some of these somewhere before. Very interesting, it's nice to know where strange sayings come from, esp for someone like me who takes things so literally.

Anonymous said...

Don't suppose that's where 'swinging the lead' comes from as well? If it doesn't, maybe it should!!!

Love Mum x

French Fancy said...

Oh I loved these. The only one I knew was the 'one for the road' and 'on the wagon'. Fancy that, me knowing one with drink connotations!

Amanda said...

Absolutely fascinating, Carol! I shall be looking out for the hotel/pub near Marble Arch next time I'm up there! x

Carol said...

Lily - I love learning things like that too!!

Talli - I can't really take the credit for it....thanks really has to go to Ann :-)

Debs - Glad you enjoyed them and I hope husband liked them too :-)

Ayak - Absolutely, I regularly wonder where sayings and traditions come from!

Helen - :-D

JJ - They are aren't they!

DJ - There are so many, that we use on a daily, and I don't have a clue where they come from!

Mum - Makes sense to me....perhaps that is where it comes from..

French Fancy - I'm shocked at you knowing the drink ones...who would have thought indeed *grins*

Amanda - I will be near there next week so will be doing the same :-)

C x

Juniper said...

Yes thank you Ann! What a fascinating post Carol!!! I could not stop reading it!
Your comment on capers was hilarious, wonder what they were running after the donkey for in the first place or perhaps they were being gleefully followed as we were! It really made me laugh, thank you!

Louise | Italy said...

This is great - fascinating. So much of our language revolves around either peeing or getting drunk, it seems! Why am I not surprised? Greetings from Italy and apologies for my absence.

Carol said...

Juniper - I have no idea why they were running after the donkey but it was absolutely hillarious watching her!!

Louise - It does doesn't it...I had not really noticed but your absolutely right!!

No need to apologise it's just nice to 'see' you when you can get here :-)

C x

LindyLouMac said...

Hi I am here at the recommendation of Louise from Italy and I am delighted she sent me here.
What a fascinating article about the history of all those well known English sayings.

Lane said...

That was really interesting Carol.
And you've reminded me that it's almost time for the yearly bath:-)

Milla said...

Everyone's said it all, but that was great! Feel well rich and really rather fragrant after that.

Kevin Mullins said...

Very interesting - I love snippits like this. I used to work in Mayfair and walk past Marble Arch every day. Next time, I'll have to have "one....for me" ;-)

Carol said...

LindyLouMac - Welcome and thanks for leaving such a lovely comment!! (sorry it's taken me so long to reply...middle of assignments for Uni!). I love Louise's blog so it's nice to 'meet' another kindred spirit :-)

I love old sayings too....fasinating to learn where they come from isn't it

Lane - LOL...I did wonder what that funny smell was!! *grins*.

Milla - hahaha, so you've already had your annual bath then?

Kevin - it!! I think I might have to pinch that saying :-)

C x

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

I don't know how I managed to miss this post Carol, but have really enjoyed reading these fascinating facts. Tough times though! Lesley x

Calico Kate said...

Fascinating Carol - thanks for that. have sent the bridal info to my friend who is a wedding planner warning her not to get too close!

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