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Unexpected Benefits of Corsets- weird and wacky

October 7, 2010

Here’s another historical Weird and Wacky that really tickled me. Hope it gives you a laugh too.

And do check out Lee’s sites if you’re like me and love Victorian London.


The Unexpected Benefits of Corsets-  From The Cat’s Meat Shop

Throughout the Victorian period, many people inveighed against corsets for damaging women’s bones and bodies – ‘tight-lacing’ was recognised as a vice, although widely-practised. Corsetry, however, made of whalebone, had one advantage you rarely hear about [my italics] …

HATTON-GARDEN. ATTEMPTED MURDER. George Bailey, a youth about seventeen, was charged with having attempted to murder Mary Prendergast, a young woman, by stabbing her with a large knife. It appeared in evidence that on Thursday morning, last, about five o’clock, the Prisoner, who sells fish in a basket near Portpool-lane, Leather-lane, Holborn, was standing before his basket when the Prosecutrix asked him the price of his fish. He told her, and she refused to purchase, but laughed at him and jeered him.. . . . In the course of the evening the Prosecutrix was passing by, when the Prisoner rushed upon her with a knife which he uses to cut up the fish and, while in a great passion, he pluinged the knife several times at her heart, and the last thrust the point of the knife dug into her clothes, and would have entered her body had it not been that the bone of her stays prevented it … [Morning Post, 1833]

MARLBOROUGH-STREET. – AN UNNATURAL SON – Alfred Grant, a lad about nineteen years of age, of sullen aspect, was brought before Mr. Dyer, charged with having attempted to stab his own mother . . . James Grant, the brother of the prisoner, about sixteen years of age, said the prisoner came home to Grafton-street, Soho, on Monday afternoon, and some words having ensued between him and his mother, he seized a knife and made a stab at her. Fortunately the bone of his mother’s stays turned the point of the knife … [The Standard, 1837]

Catherine Connor, the person alluded to by the last witness, and who is in a state of pregnancy, deposed that she kept a fruit stall opposite to the Phoenix public-house and that on seeing the young man so savagely treated, she made use of the experssions just named, when Hill called her a ——–, and kicked at her violently. Fortuantely for her she received two of the worse kicks aimed at her on the bone of her stays, otherwise they would, she had no doubt, have proved most serious to her from the situation she was then in. [The Morning Post, 1841]

via The Cat’s Meat Shop: The Unexpected Benefits of Corsets.

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