Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Historical Trivia

Here's fodder for your cocktail party conversations about ye merry olde England and its olde laws. All credit goes to that venerated documenter of how the British are ever so funny: The BBC. Did you know that...?

Copyright BBCLondoners are not allowed to keep a pigsty in the front of their homes.

There is still a law in place that requires Royal Navy ships, which enter the Port of London, to provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.

The acts repealed in 2004 included an 1888 law encouraging emigration to the colonies for unemployed adults and pauper children from the overcrowded cities of England and Wales.

Copyright Wikimedia.orgA law introduced in 1307 ensures that the head of any dead whale found on the British coast becomes the property of the king and the tail belongs to the queen—should she need the bones for her corset.

Until 1835, anyone who carried a trade in the City of London had to be a freeman—a title still taken up by some 1,800 people every year. One of the privileges is being allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll.

In 1797, a law was passed preventing people from wearing a top hat after London haberdasher John Hetherington showed off his creation round the city. The sight of his hat caused quite a stir, and he was arrested and charged with breach of the King's peace. He was found guilty and fined £50.

Copyright European-Union.caNot technically against the law, but it is not allowed for anyone to die in Parliament. The death certificate is not issued until after the body is removed from Parliament. The reason? Anyone dying in Parliament would be legally entitled to a state funeral as Parliament is part of the Palace of Westminster.

It is still an offence to beat or shake any carpet rug or mat in any street in the Metropolitan Police District, although you are allowed to shake a doormat before 8am.

Red Shoes copyright by ElizabethCostume.netElizabeth I was responsible for the law that banned women from using cosmetics to lead a man into marriage. This included false hair, makeup, false hips(?), and high-heeled shoes.


Nicola Cornick said...

I love these little bits of historical information! Shame about the ban on the false hips, though. Not that I need them - too much there already!

Keira Soleore said...

Heh! Most of us modern women don't need said enhancements. Also those wide panniers probably needed extra support, too.

For years, I subscribed to this Forgotten English daily calendar that had words, events, and such listed page after page. Such fun reading!

Kris Kennedy said...

Huh . .. I'm going to have to complain to someone. I've been charged for *every* flock of sheep Ive taken across that darned bridge for years now.

Great, fun info, Keira! I used to have a daily 'forgotten words' calendar too. Forgot I had it. :-) Must dig it out . . .

Anna Campbell said...

Love this stuff, Keira. Actually, Nicola, I was wondering if I could sell some of my spare hiptitude! Clearly it would have to be black market, if it's illegal. But I've got some good stuff there ;-)

Keira Soleore said...

I posted a comment here yesterday that seems to have been lost. Reposting from what I can remember of my brilliance last night...

Kris, you must've cried 'wolf' one too many times that's why you're being charged a toll every time you shepherd your sheep across that bridge.

Fo, I'm sure there's a market for your hiptitude. I recommend you try eBay for much success.