Friday, 8 October 2010

1858 and all's well

I came across the August 3rd 1858 copy of The Times I have in the office - it was used to wrap a second-hand book I bought. A few adverts caught my eye:

SWAINE and ADENY, whip manufacturers to Her Majesty and H. R. H. the Prince Consort, and Royal Family, inform the public that they have no other establishment that at 185, Piccadilly, opposite Burlington House, W. A handsome assortment of all kinds of whips including prize whips and whips for presents, parasol and fan whips, patent seamless handle whips, chowries for the East Indies, Rhinoceros horn whips, and other novelties always on hand ; also stock whips for Australia and New Zealand. N. B. Merchants and shippers liberally dealt with. References required. 
So there you have it: whips for royal fun, slaves and animals. Swaine and Adeny are still around, though they've moved to St. James. I've a wallet by them (a present I can't afford to replace with the same) and I'd love their most famous product: the Indiana Jones hat.

Copy-writing bullshit hasn't changed much: try this cattle-feed ad.

THORLEY's FOOD for CATTLE.– It is only a short time since this singularly efficacious article of animal diet first made its appearance ; and already its celebrity is world-wide. It has been a subject of wonder and has puzzled many a brain to explain how this has been brought about. Yet when we are acquainted with a few facts concerning the food our wonder will cease. A few days since a gentleman wrote, stating that he had a horse which was a "perfect bag of bones". He tried all kinds of things to get the animal into condition, but in vain : he then bought some of Thorley's food, and he says the effect was wonderful : the horse rapidly grew fat, and in the course of a few weeks had gained no less than 12 stone. Again, we find at the late Agricultural Shows at Birmingham, Cardiff, &c., the animals which carreid off the highest prizes had been partly fed with Thorley's food for cattle. Such facts speak for themselves, and we are forced to the conclusion that its celebrity arises solely from its own intrinsic merits and the great demand for it can proceed alone for the good opinion and testimony of those who have tried it. All parties interested in horses and cattle will do well to apply at 77, Newgate-street, London for a pamphlet, which is sent post free. 
I particularly like the 'we are forced to the conclusion'.

Still going in 1910

But I don't want to feed cattle, I want a new job. What's the market like?

WANTED, a YOUNG MAN, or Youth, who can write well–if acquainted with the cheesemongery and poultry business would be preferred. Apply at 9, Jonson–place, Harrow–road, Paddington. 

Mmmm, cheese. And there's a pub at No. 13, The Ben Jonson. On the other hand, the cheesemonger at No. 15 went bankrupt only a few years later: did he expand too fast?

Perhaps I'll enter domestic service.

WANTED, in a small family, a GENERAL SERVANT : one from the country preferred. A good character indispensable. Apply personally, at 29, Clifton-road east, St. John's–wood. Irish objected to.

Oh dear. That's me out. Oh well. 29 Clifton Road is now a nasty Tesco outlet, so serve him right.

SCHOLASTIC.–WANTED, in a boarding school, an ASSISTANT MASTER, to teach middle classics and junior English. A comfortable home and the duties light. Salary £30 per annum. Address X. Y., post office, Ross. Herefordshire.

Ideal. I could be the next Wackford Squeers. Or I could become a speculator:

TO CAPITALISTS.–Any person, having at his immediate disposal the sum of £10,000 to £20,000, may more than double that sum during the present year (1858), and that without the slightest risk or relinquishing for one moment the control of his capital. No agent need apply. Address J. G., 32, Sloane-street, S. W.

And if you believe that, I've got some Lehman Brothers shares to sell you. Your £20,000 is the equivalent of £1.54 millions in purchasing power now, or £13.6 millions calculating by average earnings.

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