Thursday, 10 February 2011


Last night I was looking through my Dictionary of Phrase and Fable where all sorts of extras get filed - alphabetically, of course! I came across this and thought it might raise a smile on a gloomy, rainy Thursday morning.
I'm inclined to think it's a London based poem, just based on the language but it's also a social comment on the 'working-class' life probably about the late 19th or early 20th century. A 'two-up. two-down' house in a road of identical homes, a scullery (where the running water and sink was) and the loo outside. The parlour would have been the Front Room, not used, kept for best and for important visitors.
The cutting comes from an old This England magazine and was in the letters section under the name of Jim McCue in SE1 - Lambeth. Unfortunately, I didn't date it so don't know when it was published. Read it out loud if you have a problem...

We wunce had a parler for tea on Sunday,
John cleaned his bisickle ther on the Monday.
Charles and his fren Hamelia Rite
Sat in the dark ther on Toosday nite.
An Wensday, bein erly closin,
it sooted me to ave a dose in;
On Thursday it were used fer nowt
bekors the missis scrubed it out.
On Friday it was clean and tidy,
redy for the Vicar's lidy;
Feeling extra ale an arty,
On Sattiday we ad a party.
But ther aint no party now-
an wi?
The L.G.B.
e ses ter me,
You giv up this ere luxeree,
Tis not the likes ov you, ses e,
as shud be avin cumpernee-
besides you av a skuleree.
Wots rong wiv you, e ses ter me,
Is that your wiges is, ses e,
too i.

L.G.B. perhaps means the Lord Gor Blimey but it's not certain.

It's certainly 'how the other half lived'.


Bernard said...

Ah! Good old "This England".
Years ago I used to subscribe to this, but stopped when I found it in Bourne End library every quarter. Unfortunately, it has now disappeared.
I have saved many articles of interest but thrown out the bulk of the magazines. I now subscribe to "Evergreen" - from the same publisher.
As you like dictionaries, I wonder if you have found this website?

It is very useful for looking up 'regional' words and expressions. My gran had a scullery and I knew the meaning but I used it as an example in the above.
Can't help with LGB. It's a new one to me.

Micki said...

That must be an interesting book for looking up terms and expressions.
Ireland has some really cute expressions that they use.