Historicals

1862: Before the advent of the Internet (invented in 1893, in its original form The Internet was a large room in central London with a dictionary, an encyclopaedia, a cat in a box and thousands of drawings and photographs of ladies’ vaginas in it) people afflicted with “The Twitters” would compulsively write down every thought that popped into their head, each one on a separate piece of paper which their carers would throw away in the mistaken belief that nobody would want to read them. Here Agnes Williams is writing “Agnes likes sunshine” because she did.

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1879: The typical Victorian gentleman liked a woman who was pear-shaped. (Completely pear-shaped; the dress in the picture above is skin-tight and would have caused a sensation at the time.) He also liked her to be all squishy like a pear, available in shops like a pear and to be completely still and stoically silent during sex, just like a pear would. Often they would just have sex with pears.

Over the years, men's preferences would change, from the pearshape, to the hourglass, to today's popular 'flesh plank with two melons nailed to it' look. Of course, having sex with pears would never go out of fashion.

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1842: Life expectancy in Victorian England was around 40 years. The simple reason for this was that children grew up faster, often starting work as blacksmiths, chimney sweeps or adorable mobile hatstands as early as three years old. They were generally regarded as disposable labour by the industrial middle classes; the work was hard, the hours gruelling, and the lovemaking often less than tender. Here four 19-year old factory workers are photographed at their retirement party, shortly before being taken out the back and dismantled for spares.

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1829: The first London policeman is created by putting a hefty, violent man, some shiny buttons, a hat and a big stick into a vat and stirring until angry. PC No. 1 was just the first of many furious, vat-grown law enforcers who would police the streets of London. Nicknamed 'the peelers', because that's what they would often do to the people they caught, the police had a very easy job until 1848, when the first criminal was created in a different vat and successfully introduced into the capital.

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1859: Victorian ladies would often carry a tall table around with them, as a contraceptive. In those sexually repressed times, if a gentleman should find himself overcome with amorous desire he would generally direct his attentions towards the four long, shapely, bare legs of the table, leaving the lady free to make her excuses and leave them to it. It was rare to find a Victorian gentleman who didn't have an occasional table.

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1849: Centaurs were tolerated in polite society as long as they observed Victorian mores regarding clothing ie hiding their horsey bits under a skirt (or a kilt for the males). They could learn to sit on chairs, but were often privately sneered at for their insistence on using a dessert spoon for soup, cutting bread rolls with a knife, and vigourously mounting each other between courses whenever they felt like it. 'Its how we do things in Narnia' was not considered a valid excuse.

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1866: The only known picture of celebrated British woman spy Pam Snowy, whose name was rumoured to be a fiendish anagram. It is said she agreed to this photograph on the proviso that she could wear one of the many incredible disguises that had made her such a valuable agent of the British Empire, thus displaying her prowess and retaining her anonymity. Tragically, she was at this point so old and bewildered she didn't realise that she had put her false beard on upside down.

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