Wednesday 5 June 2013

Travelling Manners - The More Things Change ... Joan Lennon

The Bayswater Omnibus by George William Joy 1895
(from the blog It's About Time)

On 30 January 1836, The Times published "The Omnibus Law" - obviously the paper felt there was a need for guidelines ...

The Law included:

* Keep your feet off the seats.

* Sit with your limbs straight, and do not with your legs describe an angle of 45, thereby occupying the room of two persons.

*  Do not spit on the straw.  You are not in a hogsty but in an omnibus travelling in a country which boasts of its refinement.

*  Behave respectfully to females and put not an unprotected lass to the blush, because she cannot escape from your brutality.

*  If you bring a dog, let him be small and be confined by a string.

*  Do not introduce large parcels - an omnibus is not a van.

*  If you will broach politics or religion, speak with moderation: all have an equal right to their opinions, and all have an equal right to not have them wantonly shocked.

*  Refrain from affectation and conceited airs.  Remember that you are riding a distance for sixpence which, if made in a hackney coach, would cost you as many shillings; and that should your pride elevate you above plebeian accommodations, your purse should enable you to common aristocratic indulgences.

And my personal favourite:

*  Reserve bickerings and disputes for the open field.  The sound of your own voice may be music to your own ears - not so, perhaps, to those of your companions.

Plus ca change, as they say.

Omnibus Life by William Maw 1859 

London Omnibus 1901 
(Wiki Commons)

Joan's website.
Joan's blog.


JO said...

I went to Laos recently - and there are rules everywhere! What to wear, where to go ... and not to vomit in a minibus ...

Joan Lennon said...

Not vomiting sounds like an excellent rule!

Jane Borodale said...

Hilarious - thanks Joan, this made me smile, not least because it still sometimes feels like a hogsty, doesn't it (though I do try not to spit on the floor).

Theresa Breslin said...

Oh this made me laugh out loud, Joan! I had lunch recently with a friend who travels on the ** in a city which, in fear of retribution, will remain nameless. Substitute 'straw' for 'floor', and ALL of these rules are broken on a regular basis on this bus - with a few extra infringements of the law thrown in on occasion. She is frequently 'wantonly shocked' This is a fantastic post and has inspired me for my post this month as I have a copy of the Regulations for use of the Library, spitting also figures in those... Thanks Joan.

Joan Lennon said...

Jane, your restraint is admirable - and Theresa, looking forward to finding out more about proper library behaviour! (Where IS a girl to spit?!)

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