Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Advice of the Boys' Own Paper

The BOP was one of the great institutions of Victorian and Edwardian England. It may be surprising to learn that it had an 'agony' column, of sorts. They called it simply 'Correspondence' and it had the same kind of broad reach as say, 'Notes and Queries' dealing with any question that a boy might be concerned enough to write in about but the boys' letters were never published, just the responses and, whilst sometimes it's easy enough to intuit the question from the answer, sometimes that just adds to the humour. Here are a few which appealed to me, all taken from two issues of The Boys' Own Paper from 1893:

SLEEPY HEAD (c. Brown) - 1. You must take all the exercise you can in the open air and an occasional opening pill or two at night. Your blood is not all right. 2. "Indoor Games" can be obtained by order through any bookseller.

CYCLING (Persistent)- Begin with short and train up to long. Do not spurt much as that really does injure or stretch the heart.

ENTERING NAVY (R. W. P.) No, you must have two eyes, or you will not be accepted.

FLATULENCE (J. M. B.) Perhaps charcoal as sold in chemists' shops would afford relief. You give us so little to go by. Pepsine, too, would do good if the digestion is slow.

CANARY DEFORMED (W. Weaver) No, we don't think that anything can be done

"IN IGNORANCE" (Richards) Read your Bible, and you will see where the sin comes in. What you refer to will not stop all at once. What you have to do now is to lead a sinless life, govern your thoughts, and obey the laws of health.

WILD-CATS' SKINS (Arthur) Dress them neatly and let them form the centre parts of two mats or anti-macassars, to place over sofa or on back of chair. The may itself might be light blue with a bordering of flowers.

1 comment:

mike said...

Somebody on the forum at once posted some extracts from a Correspondence column in some paper from 1906 which said "You say the boy hit you, if you can please send me his full address I will post him a shilling". There was another one that compared a reader to "the dog that barks through the fence but never steps through the gate" XD.

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