This Week in 1935: 18-24 August

18-24th August:

Carnival Season:

This week in 1935 saw the tenth annual Southend Carnival, raising money for the Southend General Hospital. As was tradition the carnival began with the roasting of an ox on the seafront. The first slice was sold by auction and raised five guineas. A children’s parade, themed ‘Children Throughout the Ages’, a baby show, and a street procession followed. This year also witnessed a new way of illuminating the seafront. Instead of using fairy lights for the occasion floodlights were placed under trees, fountains, arches, and other locations to light up the town.

Voyage in a Bathtub:

The Times printed an unusual story this week in 1935 detailing the adventures of a Swedish man in a bathtub. The man had jumped off a Swedish vessel off the coast of North Queensland, Australia, setting sail in a wooden-bottomed bathtub. He aimed to reach New Guinea, some 50 miles away, in search of gold. He got lost at sea for five days and was eventually recovered and taken to Australia. One word sums up this story in my mind – RANDOM!

Not Forgotten Association:

This association founded by a Miss Marta Cunningham sought to improve the lives of disabled ex-servicemen by providing them with treats. This week in 1935 the Association hosted the fifteenth annual Thames river trip. 130 ex-servicemen who fought in WW1 and were still recovering from their wounds in London hospitals were invited on the steamer, Grand Duchess, sailing from Kingston to Weymouth and back again. High tea was provided, along with ices and sweets, accompanied by ‘humorous piano’ music. An admirable gesture of thanks to those who survived and yet sacrificed their lives on the battlefields.


This Week in 1935: 11-17th August

The Not-So-Great Escape of 1935:

This week in 1935 a prisoner escaped from Pentonville Gaol in London. He had hacked at the brickwork surrounding the barred window of his cell with a steel-tipped stick and climbed through the hole. Since his cell was on the second floor he then made an ingenious contraption involving a plank of wood and a rope pulley-system to lower himself to the ground. From there he managed to cross the yard and climb the outer wall of the prison. He was captured just ten minutes later. Warders found him utterly exhausted from his daring escape, hiding behind a door in a nearby shop.


Woman Saved from Cow by Sheepdog:

Occasionally the stories found in The Times in 1935 are so random that the only way to give them justice is to quote them in full…

‘A sheepdog saved the life of Mrs. David Thomas, of Tyddyndu Farm, near Barmouth, on Saturday, when she was attacked and seriously injured by a cow. Mrs. Thomas was driving cattle to a field after milking when a cow suddenly attacked her, and after goring her several times held her trapped between a gate and a wall. She cried for help and her favourite sheepdog immediately ran from the farmhouse. By this time the woman was badly injured and helpless on the ground, and the cow again in the act of attacking. The sheepdog barked loudly, and managed by jumping in front of the cow to draw its attention. The woman’s husband then came to the scene and managed to drive the cow away. After medical attention Mrs. Thomas was taken to the Dolgelley and Barmouth Hospital, where her injuries were found to include a fractured arm and serious leg injuries.’

Hurrah to all the trusty sheepdogs out there!


The Mechanical Informer:

This week in 1935 a new machine was installed at the Charing Cross Post Office that sought to provide customers with push-button information. Post Office clerks were frequently bogged-down by the inquiries of their customers and it was hoped that this machine would free-up some of their time. Subjects regarding mail, telegrams, express services, and the regulations of stamps were allocated a number. An inquirer would then press the button printed with the number of the question they wanted answered and a card appeared in a lighted aperture. This card included information printed in the Post Office Guide. Installed as an experiment at Charing Cross it was hoped that similar self-service machines would appear in other Post Offices around the country.


This Week in 1935: 4-10th August

Hatching a Plan: Crime News

This week witnessed a not-so-great train robbery. The loot – registered letters taken from mail bags. It was estimated that £60 had been stolen from the three missing mail bags. Another hustle was debunked this week. The Times called it the Gold Bar Trick. Russian salesman, Morris Grossman, melted down copper, brass and silver into a bar. His accomplice, Percy Marcus, then had a gold bar assayed and melted the two bars together claiming £75 9s 11d. They were caught and received four month’s imprisonment with hard labour for their crime.

Egg-Laying Trials: Miscellaneous News

This week saw the annual county egg-laying trials but this year the rules had changed. Before 1935 the gold cup was offered to the highest-scoring four pens of any one breed but, ‘in view of the increasing mortality in laying trials it has been argued that this form of competition is undesirable.’ The cup was now awarded to the county with the lowest mortality percentage. How lovely!

Saving Mr. Charles Pickens:

A fourteen-year-old girl was commended this week for her bravery in attempting to save her father, Mr. Pickens, from drowning. The girl had been bathing in the sea with her parents and got caught in a current. She managed to pull her mother to safety and stayed with her father until she had nearly exhausted herself. A real Grace Darling of the 1930s.


Diary of a Housemaid #8

DofHM July

July 1935

This incredible heat has lasted for three weeks now. To begin with it was pleasant, the gradual warming-up of the corridors, but now the basement is like an oven. Work in the kitchens must be unbearable. One kitchen maid was sent to bed yesterday from heat exhaustion. Florence, Beatrice, Violet and I followed the odd man to the ice-store when he went on an errand for Cook. He dropped a few shards of ice when he was shovelling it into a bucket and we were quick to retrieve them. Jim knew exactly what we were doing, but he said nothing. For a brief moment, with that ice in our hands, we felt cool and refreshed.

The village school has shut because of the heat and last week my sister Iris, and one of my younger brothers, Thomas, walked from Chevington to see me. They were both red in the face from the sun by the time they arrived at the gates. I was so worried about them that I dragged them down the servant’s stairs and brought them to Mrs. Seddon’s room. We are not meant to bring our visitors into the house, but the kindly lady took pity and allowed Iris and Thomas to sit at her table. She even allowed me to stay since it was my half-day. This was meant as a gesture of kindness, I am sure, but I just felt uneasy being in that room as a guest. In the end Father had to pick them up with his cart. They received such a telling-off that I don’t suppose they will visit again, at least until the weather cools.

Rose Bailey


This Week in 1935: 29 July – 3 August

28 July – 3 August:

This week welcomed a bank holiday. Special travel arrangements were made to meet public demand. Many additional express trains were provided to bring the coast and countryside within easy reach of pleasure-seekers. According to The Times the Great Western Company expected to carry 3,000,000 passengers between the 2nd to the 8th of August. Ah, the ‘good old days’, when trains provided a service for their passengers.

Quick action this week preserved perhaps one of our country’s most beautiful features. The government urged for the protection of thatch houses as it was becoming popular practice to replace thatch with iron sheeting which was cheaper and easier to maintain.

This Week in 1935: 21-27 July

21-27 July:

This week it was announced that the slums at Chalk Farm, St. Pancras, were to be cleared with new flats built in their place. Also a Roman pavement was uncovered at Woodchester, Gloucester, covered in a mosaic detailing the Grecian story of Orpheus. According to The Times this was the largest mosaic pavement preserved in England and one of the largest in the world.


A belated This Week in 1935: 14-20 July

Back from a sunny holiday in Northumbria – so here is what happened in the week I missed…

14-20 July:

Drama: An electric cable fused in a manhole between the inner and outer walls of the Tower of London this week in 1935. A sheet of flames shot into the air from the manhole, which was blown up, and the fire brigade was called. A detachment of Coldstream Guards were sent to surround the Crown Jewels and The Times reported that many visitors, ‘regarded the experience as part of the thrill of seeing the sights of London.’

Medicine: The Royal Sanitary Institute Health Congress met this week at Bournemouth. The presidential address was delivered by Mr. F. J. Webb discussing the changing image of family doctors in the public mind. With increasing competition in the provision of a health service there was a growing concern that, ‘a complete revolution in the attitude towards the doctor and the problem of health in general could not long be delayed.’ The NHS was established thirteen years later.

Miscellaneous: This week celebrated the annual Kensington Kitten Club Awards. The best exhibit in show was won by Mrs. M. G. Cook’s Moormead Dinky Boy and the winner of the junior blue female competition was Mrs. A. Bird’s Cheekie Tripper. Other brilliant pedigree pet names included: Silver Jubilee, Theydon Hazel, Basildon Talisman, Silver Dollar, Posey of Croydon, and Piggy.