Monday, February 18, 2013

The Watchman in 1827

Monday, February 18, 2013
Loretta reports:

In Pierce Egan’s and others’ work, the watchman is often a target for ridicule and abuse by so-called Gentlemen.

These days, a great many readers might not find the illustrated scene so hilarious.  Neither did the author of the piece below, in the waning days of the watchman (the Metropolitan Police appear in 1829).  The watchman’s situation has obvious parallels today, which is why I’ve posted the whole thing, though it’s a longer read than I usually foist on you. 

The Gentleman's Pocket Magazine 1827
As always, please click on illustrations to enlarge.


Julia said...

I am so thrilled by this because there's yet another piece of history that is mirrored to perfection in Pratchett's Discworld novels. His watchmen are exactly like these appear: lantern, wide coat of a crude (but probably water-proofed material) for the cold rainy nights, the natural enemy of young, fashionable men with in series sense of entitlement... and most importantly, they are the poor sods who aren't handsome, clever or rich enough to qualify for a dashing career in the army.

As for the young, hemhem, 'ladies' in the picture: What sort of young woman is out and about in the streets at such a time with such men?

I'm a great proponent of the theory that a lot of things about humanity do not change over the centuries, and this is one: it's not even half the fun to be an over-dressed obnoxious drunken young idiot if there are no girls around to giggle and squee admiringly.

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket