HOUSEY SLANG

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Foureyes
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HELP PLEASE - HOUSIE SLANG

Post by Foureyes » Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:24 pm

I am working on some Housie documents from 1914-1918 and have encountered a letter by an Old Blue which contains some Housie slang which I do not understand. Can anyone explain, please?

1. Dish-gravy
2. Grecian's Boys
3. Skinner's Feast.
4. "Serve the hole, please, Mrs. Flowers—Threepennyworth of Bulldogs for a Master "
5. Shaking Neck
6. "the scarcity of Baked Taffs" (at a guess this could mean baked potatoes, but....?)

Sensible answers only, please, but help will be greatly appreciated.
:shock:

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cj
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re: Skinners Feast

Post by cj » Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:39 pm

Re: Skinners Feast - here is part of a diary entry by Henry Machyn (mid 16th century), this part referring to Skinners Feast, other guilds mentioned also. The connection may be through the City of London?

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report ... mpid=45527

[The day of June was the Skinners' feast; and there was chosen the master of fellowship master . . . . ., and for wardens] master Clarenshux, (fn. 57) kyng at armes, [the ij master . . .,] the iij master Dennam, the fort master Starke; [and] for denner iij stages (fn. fifty eight) (and) viij bokes, (fn. 59) a gret . . .
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Post by Mid A 15 » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:26 pm

You've probably been there already but does G A T Allan's CH book have anything on CH slang?

Failing that maybe consulting the archive of "The Blue" from that time might shed some light.
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Re: re: Skinners Feast

Post by sejintenej » Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:33 pm

cj wrote:Re: Skinners Feast - here is part of a diary entry by Henry Machyn (mid 16th century), this part referring to Skinners Feast, other guilds mentioned also. The connection may be through the City of London?

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report ... mpid=45527

[The day of June was the Skinners' feast; and there was chosen the master of fellowship master . . . . ., and for wardens] master Clarenshux, (fn. 57) kyng at armes, [the ij master . . .,] the iij master Dennam, the fort master Starke; [and] for denner iij stages (fn. fifty eight) (and) viij bokes, (fn. 59) a gret . . .

The Worshipful Company of Skinners has a presentation to Christs Hospital

Ruth Copelin (Col A, Gr W 93–01) is mentioned as one such presentee in
http://www.chassociation.org/news/archive/july03.php

Seems possible (seeing how other Guilds operate) that presentees will be required to attend a dinner and give an account of themselves at the end of their time at CH.

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Serve the hole, Mrs Flowers

Post by Rex » Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:46 pm

<b>Mrs Flowers</b> ran the Tuck Shop.

<b>Hector Buck (Col A 10-19, Horsham Staff 28-57)</b> defined 'the hole' as 'an aperture about 18" inches square in the wire-net grill separating server and customers… A not very orderly queue succeeded to it, inserting arm, coin in hand.'

'Serve the hole, Mrs Flowers' was, in the words of <b>K F Starling (Md A 14-20)</b>, 'the chant of the surging mob of customers'. <b>W F Giddings (La B 16-23)</b> explains why:

'I well remember that the goods were protected from clutching hands by a high mesh barrier with only two small gaps at low level, through which "holes" we were supposed to be served. Taller boys would "gate-crash" by reaching over the top, hence the continuous wail of "serve the hole".'

In a letter to Buck written while resting behind the lines in 1917 <b>Edmund Blunden (Col A 09-15, Senior Grecian)</b> said of the then Headmaster, 'I am sure his tyranny knows no bounds. I expect he will forbid Mrs Flowers to serve the hole next.'
Last edited by Rex on Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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scarcity of Baked Taffs

Post by Rex » Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:50 pm

'Taff' certainly meant potato in my time.

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Skinner's Feast

Post by Rex » Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:18 am

On 'Skinner's Feast' I'm less sure of my ground. But the Skinners' Company used to hold (probably still does) a big event on Corpus Christi Day each year, involving a procession to the church of St Mary Aldermary. Traditionally this procession was led by the ten current CH pupils presented by the company. After 1891, when the Skinners' presentation rights were cut down to two boys and two girls, the custom developed that the procession was led by the two male presentees and eight other CH boys. (Where the girls fitted in I don't know.) After the church service the boys were given lunch, presumably as part of a bigger lunch/banquet/feast/whatever, and were then taken off for 'entertainment', paid for if necessary by the company. I suppose this might be called the Skinners' Feast (in which case 'Skinner's Feast' is a slip of the pen or a printer's error). Does it make sense in context?

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Post by Foureyes » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:47 am

Many thanks for the replies, which are most helpful. I have still not solved all of them but we are half-way there. Incidentally, the high metal grill was certainly still in the tuck-shop in 1955!
:shock:

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HOUSEY SLANG

Post by Foureyes » Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:02 pm

(This is the merged initial post from a separate topic, joined with the main topic at David's request. David - feel free to edit/delete as appropriate - JT)
I am doing some work on a letter written by a Horsham Old Blue in 1917. It includes a lot of Housey slang, most of which has been deciphered by either Rex Sweeny or myself. However, we are defeated by five, as follows:

“dish-gravy” - no idea.
“Grecian's Boys” – the forerunners of swabs, maybe?
“Southwater” – this is the name of a local village, but why should it feature in Housey slang?
“Skinner's Feast” – the Skinner’s Company has long been associated with C.H. and that company has an annual Skinner’s Feast. But why should the term be featured in Housey-slang?
“Shaking Neck” which appears in the context of “the disadvantages of Shaking Neck.” We have no idea on this one, either!

Can anyone shed any light at all on any of these, please :?: :?: :?:

:shock:

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Post by J.R. » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:40 pm

There is a re-print booklet in existance which goes right back to London days. I was shown it by one of the girls in Coleridge B a couple of years ago at a Coleridge B re-union. Unfortunately, I forget to take details of it for futire reference.

Maybe someone in the office at CH will know of it.
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Post by jhopgood » Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:57 pm

I have the booklet but none of the above queries are answered.
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Ajarn Philip
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Post by Ajarn Philip » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:24 pm

Any context, Foureyes?
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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Post by englishangel » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:28 pm

I would think dish-gravy is the washing-up water after doing the Sunday dinner dishes.
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Post by Foureyes » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:57 pm

Sorry, I should have given the context. These expressions come from Edmund Blunden's Letter to the Editor of The Blue in 1917, which records the meeting of five Old Blues, all officers in the Royal Sussex Regiment, at an estaminet "somewhere in France.". The relevant part reads as follows:
...and then Tice would weigh out deep thoughts on Housey-slang, dish-gravy , Grecian's Boys , and the names carved under the Civic Chair on the dais ; on Southwater, Skinner's Feast, "Serve the hole, please, Mrs. Flowers—Threepennyworth of Bulldogs for a Master "; the disadvantages of Shaking Neck , and scarcity of Baked Taffs; the pleasantries passed when workmen were repairing the asphalt, and many other things.
I have underlined the ones that Rex and I cannot identify. Incidentally "Serve the hole...." refers to the Tuckshop; "Baked Taffs" are, of course, baked potatoes, while the shouting at workmen appears to be the ineradicable and none too pleasant custom of Housey boys shouting rude remarks at bockers (sorry, workmen!).

Incidentally, I have come across a lovely story about Housey, London in the 1860s. It seems that the dining hall there included an organ, as now (thanks to Hertford Old Blues) does that at Horsham. On a particular day the Hall Warden banged his gavel and then read out some disciplinary notice which irked the student body. He ended and then (fatally) paused momentarily before knocking once more for the Grecian to read Grace. The organist, who was awaiting the end of Grace, immediately - and quite deliberately - played a very loud chord, whereupon the entire student body turned to the warden's desk and unsmiling - and as one - sang a very loud and perfectly rendered "Amen." The real Grace came as a complete anti-climax.
:shock:

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Post by Great Plum » Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:32 pm

The organ that was in the Great Hall at London is now the organ in Big School...
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