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UK_Widowmaker

OT Your daily History Lesson

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There's an old Pub in Marble Arch, London....which used to have gallows adjacent. Prisoners were taken to the gallows

(after a fair trial of course) to be hung.

The horse drawn dray, carting the prisoner was accompanied by an armed guard,

Who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ''ONE LAST DRINK''.

If he said YES it was referred to as “ONE FOR THE ROAD”

If he declined, that prisoner was “ON THE WAGON”

 

 

 

 

More bleeding history...

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee

in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery.

If you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor".

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot they

"Didn’t have a pot to Piss in" & were the lowest of the low.

 

Who says "History is Boring?" :grin:

Edited by UK_Widowmaker

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also in german the saying "blau sein" (being blue) which means beeing drunk, or "blaumachen" (making blue) which means pretending to be sick and not going to work, has some interesting roots.

 

in ancient times the Färber or in english dyer was the one who had to colorize the clothes of the monarchs and rich salesmen etc. the common colour of the normal people were all shades of brown. but the upper class wanted to have other sort of colours. especially purple and blue. so the dyer used some herbs and the clothes in a keg or something and all workers had to drink a lot till they get drunk and piss into this keg several times and for several days. some chemical reactions turned the clothes into blue colors.

so if one was missing at regurlar work as a carpenter or something, they said, he isn't here because he's making blue (of course everybody was very helpful with drinking and pissing). and if somebody was constantly drunk he was blue. that stayed to this day although the people nowadays don't know from where it is.

 

same goes for "verfranzt" which means getting lost somewhere. it's still used to this day. at least from elder people. but few know that that's from "franz", the german nickname for observer and navigator in twoseaters (while the pilots nick is emil) and if the franz has lost orientation reading the map wrong or in fog etc., then they have verfranzt.

 

knowledge nobody needs, but anyway, here you are. maybe one day in who'll be millionaire :grin:

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.

 

Super stuff here Gents, love this sort of thing. As to WM's note about "piss poor", here in the U.S. we have the phrase "dirt poor" which was born out of our Great Depression of the 1930's and refers to people who are so broke as to not even have dirt to plant crops in, (the wind having blown it all away after years of poor farming practices). There was some debate years ago that the phrase actually came from Shakespear, but there is no proof what-so-ever to support that claim.

 

What a crakcer jack topic, off the hook, it's so crunk! Hook me up to some more of this rad lingo, dudes.

 

.

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Okay, here's another one.

When the Hugenots were chased in and driven out of France, the Prussian king took them,

cause they were well educated and good craftsmen.

Now, they also ran shop, and their word for iron ware or metal goods was "Quincailleries".

 

The Germans liked to buy the good quality, but couldn't spell the name.

A German attempt to read that without knowing the right pronounciation would sound:

"Kinkylerees" (English spelling).

But vernacular made "Kinkerlitzchen" of that (English spelling: King-care-lids-chen; although

I think you can't spell the ch as it should be - not a "K" or "C" sound, but softly formed in the

back of your mouth - aw, forget it, you wont get it right).

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The meaning of 'wearing your heart on your sleeve' is to display your emotions openly. You might remember this one from Shakespeare’s masterpiece Othello.

 

This rather strange phrase is said to derive from a middle-aged custom of knights wearing the colours of the lady they were supporting during jousting matches. They would wear a cloth or ribbon in the colour of their fair maiden around their arms before galloping towards impending pain or victory.

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I'm sure I've said it before, but being sent to Coventry is an expression used when somebody is shunned for having done something wrong. It's origins are set back in the times when cities were closed, and tradesmen had to be given the freedom of a particular city in order to work there. If you misbehaved, it was a very big deal, and often you wouldn't be permitted to work in that city. Coventry however was an open city, where the craftsmen's guilds were more liberal, and errant tradesman could still make a living there. Hence the expression being sent to Coventry.

 

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is another stonemason's term. Stone, or some say money, meant for St Peter's cathedral was diverted to pay for St Pauls. You're 'robbing' from one cathedral just to build another.

 

Getting the third degree is supposed to be level in the masonic order, and quite a demanding level I presume. Similar phrase is 'all square' or 'all right' (angled).

 

A chip off the old block I read once (though not convinced) concerned masons marks. Masons couldn't read or write so used tooled marks to identify their work. Often a son would adopt the same masons mark as his father, but add a chip or score to the mark to make it distinct from his fathers. The father would train him to do things the way he did them, so the son would be a very similar tradesman or a chip off the old block...... Hmmm. Maybe.

 

Another one is keeping your nose to the grind stone. That's a miller's term. The best flour is the finest ground, but grind it too thin, then the millstones would create heat and burn the flour. As the flour began to burn you might smell it. Keeping your nose to the grind stone means pay close attention to whatever you're doing.

 

A flash in the pan is a musket mis-firing. The smouldering taper fails to ignite the powder behind the ball, and all you get a quick' flash in the pan'.

 

My favourite however is rule of thumb. That's reputed to be how you judged the correct thickness of a stick which you were allowed to use to beat your wife.

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Another muzzle loading term is Lock, Stock, and Barrel, often though to mean buying the whole store, door lock, all the stock and maybe the pickle barrel. But it evolved when buying the whole muzzle loading gun not just the components. The lock (firing mechanism), the stock (wood) and the barrel (smooth bore or rifled).

 

Beard

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We all know of course, about the 'two fingered salute' courtesy of Agincourt..... But did you know that Quarrel (as in to argue) comes from Crossbow use?

 

And here's a few more I dredged up from the Net

 

Medieval people sometimes managed to get hold of pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

 

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

 

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."

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Well, now, you guys have sure given me a lot of new stuff to contemplate over the next few days..........:drinks:

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The expression the 'thin red line' comes from the Crimean war, and more specifically, the actions of the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. In 1854, the British held the port of Balaklava, but it was very weakly defended. A Russian force of 25,000 sought to retake the port, but advanced first with their heavy cavalry. The massed charge was at first met by the bold and reckless British Heavy Brigate under James Yorke Scarlet, but the remainder fell upon the Sutherland Highlanders in line formation 2 men deep.

 

When the Russian charge fell upon them, they held their line and with two volleys of fire managed to repel the attack.

 

The quote in the Times newspaper was -

 

"The Times correspondent, W. H. Russell, who standing on the hills above could clearly see that nothing stood between the Russian cavalry and the defenceless British base but the "thin red streak tipped with a line of steel" of the 93rd. Condensed almost immediately into "The Thin Red Line", the phrase has survived to this day as the chosen symbol of everything for which The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders believe themselves to stand. Asked why he had been so unorthodox as to receive a cavalry charge in line instead of in a square. Sir Colin Campbell said; "I knew the 93rd, and I did not think it worth the trouble of forming a square."

 

That's where the expression comes from.

 

Scarlet's charge is worth a second mention - Sorry, it's a Wiki reference, but ok I think....

 

 

 

"As the Heavy Brigade was crossing broken country a numerically superior Russian cavalry force appeared at the top of the heights. They poured over the skyline, down the slope towards Scarlett's brigade, beyond which lay Balaklava, and the site of the action known as the Thin Red Line of the 93rd Highlanders, which had routed a previous Russian charge that morning.

 

Scarlett quickly and coolly assembled his men at the foot of the heights, organizing them into parade-perfect formation, and sounded the charge. This maneuver defied all military doctrine at the time, as the Russians were more numerous and, more importantly, the charge was made uphill against an oncoming force.

 

As astounded onlookers watched from the rear, Scarlett's red-clad Heavies, including members of the Inniskillings and Scots Greys (of Waterloo fame), drove into the centre of the grey mass of Russians, causing the enemy formation to collapse completely. With their charge broken, the Russians were routed and the British forces could claim another victory on the day".

 

 

This incident is packed with drama and emotion, because in this action, the seeds were sown for the infamous charge of the light brigade. The Heavy Brigade's spectacular charge and the 'thin red line' had rattled the Russian force, and had Cardigans Light Brigade chosen that moment to attack their enemy in complete disarray, as Captain William Morris of the 17th Lancers strongly urged his superior officer to do, it is highly likely the whole Russian force would have been routed. This inaction, or perhaps indecision, created division and argument and could have contibuted to the dreadful failure in communication which led directly to the infamous charge of the Light Brigade. - A history I would urge you to read about for yourselves.

 

 

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I'm chuffed as ninepence about it, WM. :biggrin:

 

.

 

I knew you would be Lou....Right up your street!! :lol:

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This opens the door to nursery rhymes too. While it's disputed, most people attribute 'Ring a ring of roses' to be about the black death. A pocket full of poses was to mask the smell of death, and defeat the 'miasma' (foul atmoshere that spread the disease). Atishoo atishoo we all fall down...

 

The three blind mice are reputed to be the three Oxford Martyrs - 3 Oxford Bishops burned at the stake for their beliefs by Elizabeth 1. This is also disputed, because the martyrs were burned, not blinded, and cutting off their tails is obscure.

 

Baa Baa Blacksheep stems from a medieval wool tax. Some claim the tax was a third for the Crown, a third for the Church, and one for the poor shepherd. (One for the Master, one for the dame or Virgin Mary, & one for the little boy who lives down the lane), The reality was the tax wasn't that tough, but between 5 and 10%, but duties were split between the crown and church.

 

 

Humpty Dumpty wasn't somebody fat or an egg, but a heavy Royalist cannon mounted on the ramparts to defend St Mary's Church, Colchester during the English Civil War. The parliamentarians damaged the wall supporting the firing position and put the gun out of commission. It was too heavy for all the kings men & horses to put back together.

 

Want more? - Read on. But beware, some stories are more convincing than others. http://www.rhymes.org.uk/index.htm

 

Oranges and Lemons is worth a read, and quite a neat link back to the gallows in London....

Edited by Flyby PC

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OK, last one...

 

Mary Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

With cockle shells and silver bells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

 

Sounds harmless enough eh?

 

Except of course that Mary was actually Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII, or Bloody Mary. She was a staunch catholic, (contrary to protestant faith), and the gardens referred to are the graveyards she filled with protestants. It gets worse, silver bells was a nickname for thumb srews, and cockleshells was a similar nickname for similar instruments of torture which, well, didn't go on your thumbs shall we say....but would certainly make your eyes water. And pretty maids? Well, in the early days, the guillotine was called a maiden.

 

Read the rhyme again. - Kinda changes things a bit...

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A thread full of interesting stuff, indeed!

This last post was also new to me; I know that rhyme from the German rock group CAN.

They made their tunes incl. the singing and words mostly in improvised sessions.

Their first singer, the American Malcolm Mooney, used this rhyme, or at least parts of it

in the song "Mary, Mary".

So now I know that he used an old nursery rhyme with a cruel meaning.

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"A great many nursery rhymes we learned as children, are no longer taught in school or printed in books. Not because of their original meanings, rather in they're present form they are not Politically Correct"

 

Would you care to share a few of these so we can join in with the mourning about their destruction by PC Gorn Mad?

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Back when small pox was prevalent, the survivors of the disease were often left with facial scars

Then women of the day, not having modern cosmetics, did the best they could with bees wax

The face being quite fluid and flexible would often create embarrasing cracks in the wax

If others stared too long, they might be rebuked "Mind your own bees wax!!"

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From Wikipedia:

 

"A description of the medieval 'Great' or 'Old Custom' wool tax of 1275, which survived until the fifteenth century.[1] Contrary to some commentaries, this tax did not involve the collection of one third to the king, and one third to the church, but a less punitive sum of 6s 8d to the Crown per sack, about 5 per cent of the value.[2] This theory also depends on the rhyme surviving unrecorded and even unmentioned in extant texts for hundreds of years."

 

I'm pretty happy with that, and I'm atrociously left wing...

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Back when small pox was prevalent, the survivors of the disease were often left with facial scars

Then women of the day, not having modern cosmetics, did the best they could with bees wax

The face being quite fluid and flexible would often create embarrasing cracks in the wax

If others stared too long, they might be rebuked "Mind your own bees wax!!"

 

That's a new one on me Duce..thanks m8 :drinks:

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