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This is a fun ongoing series from the BBC: Victorian Strangeness. The author combs Victorian newspapers for nuggets of weird.

My favorite is the story of the two skeletons found walled up in the attic of a theater, mummified as they died — in the act of murdering each other. There was no clue to the mystery, except that the theater’s carpenter had gone missing fifteen years earlier.

For an even more fun dip, though, try doing a Google Images search of “Illustrated Police News” — the Daily Mail of its day (except the Daily Mail was the Daily Mail of its day. The Mail was aimed at the newly literate lower orders, where the News was all about the pitchers).

I don’t know about you, but I’m rooting for Bloomers Lady and her bicycle.


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: June 19, 2014, 12:40 am

Proof that transvestitism was alive & well over 100 years ago.

(also that Navy boys been fallin’ for the ol’ duct tape trick for over 100 years, too)

Comment from Veeshir
Time: June 19, 2014, 5:14 am

That’s a cool picture.

The double-decker horse wagon is cool but the ultra-cool gent behind the sailor is awesome.

I figure he’s a French officer what with the mustache, medals and snotty look.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: June 19, 2014, 1:45 pm

That “ultra-cool gent” behind the sailor looks like a doorman or bellhop, at one of those establishments you read about in Victorian erotica like The Pearl Magazine: http://www.horntip.com/html/books_&_MSS/1870s/1879-1880_the_pearl_journal/index.htm

Comment from Deborah
Time: June 19, 2014, 1:46 pm

These newspapers must have had a production line of artists just for creating the illustrations!

Comment from mojo
Time: June 19, 2014, 3:12 pm

Nah, not a Bellman. Brit ossifer, Victorian era. The uniforms were many and varied. It was the Empire, ya know.

Bellhops generally dressed much more grandly. Lots of epaulettes and such.

Comment from Bikeboy
Time: June 19, 2014, 8:08 pm

If this came from Illustrated Police News, it’s probably safe to assume the sailor has a severed head in that bag he’s carrying. Just sayin’…

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: June 20, 2014, 5:54 am

I note that the woman is riding a lady’s bicycle, with the drop frame to accommodate a long skirt – which she isn’t wearing.

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