Rates, racing, war and crime … and the size of bonnets



All the drama and fretting from this week, April 5, 1879 as presented by The Graphic, an illustrated weekly newspaper from London. The text and illustrations are as produced in the original publication.  (Links to recent articles in today’s media on the same, or similar topics, have been added for interest.  These are marked by a different coloured font in the text.)


IMG_0917INCREASED WATER RATES: This is a subject which presses forcibly on the attention of London householders during the present hard times.  Although a man may use no more water than he used five-and-twenty years ago, his half-yearly bill for water is far higher than it formerly was; in fact, it has on the average doubled in the last twenty years …

WEATHER FORECASTS:  Hitherto nothing in the world, at least in England, has been more uncertain than the weather.  Even the prophecies of the old boatmen at seaside resorts, who look so portentously wise as they scan the heavens, are received with scepticism by prudent Britons.  The extreme difficulty of foretelling for a couple of hours the goings-on of our eccentric climate forms a most important element of our social life, for most people would find it hard to strike up a conversation if they could not dilate on this fruitful topic …

Crossing the Buffalo River (illustration from The Graphic 1879)

Crossing the Buffalo River (illustration from The Graphic 1879)


IMG_0920CROSSING THE BUFFALO RIVER:  The 2nd Battalion 1st Natal Native Contingent crossed into Zululand, as here depicted, early in the morning.  They were unopposed, and halted on the other side for the day, but being informed by the General that he could not support them if they pushed on, they recrossed.  It was well they did so, as presently afterwards their position was occupied by a Zulu force of 4,000 men, and if the Contingent had been attacked while recrossing they must have been cut up to ribbons.

Afghanistan - General Roberts and troops (illustration from The Graphic 1879)

Afghanistan – General Roberts and troops (illustration from The Graphic 1879)

IMG_0919THE AFGHAN WAR:  The only disaster as yet to be chronicled in the Afghan campaign occurred on Monday evening, when a squadron of the 10th Hussars, following a squadron of the 11th Lancers across the River Cabul, near Jellalabad, missed the ford and were swept away by the current, and presumably drowned; Sub-Lieutenant Harford and fifty men being reported missing.  Only sixteen bodies at present have been recovered.

IMG_0928The difficulty with GREECE still remains unsettled, but France, Austria and Germany have declared themselves favourable to the change of frontier recommended by the Berlin Congress.

War has broken out between CHILI and BOLIVIA.  The whole of the Chilian fleet is off the Bolivian coast, and a large number of troops having been disembarked, Cobija was at once occupied, and Calama and Tocapilla were entered.  The Bolivian troops are concentrating at Calamas, on the frontier.  PERU has offered its mediation.

IMG_0931FASHIONS:  … There is a decided increase in the dimensions of bonnets …  There is not the same change in hats as in bonnets … Caps are now worn so large and elaborate that they look like small bonnets … Buttons form an important part of trimmings for spring dresses.  They are veritable works of art …

IMG_0918THE TURF:  – The Liverpool meeting following hard upon that of Lincoln must be accounted as a successful one.  This year the Grand National Steeplechase experienced a decided revival … The race was won in 10 min. 12 sec., Huntsman’s 9 min. 30 sec. in 1862 being the best time on record.  It is an interesting fact connected with the recent contest that no less than five brothers of the name of Beasley, gentlemen jockeys, had mounts, such a thing probably having never happened in the annals of steeplechasing.

IMG_0929LEGAL: … An elopement epidemic has set in at Chesterfield, no fewer than seven couples having taken flight from that town during the past three weeks.  One of the ladies left husband and children behind her, and she was burnt in effigy by the indignant neighbours …



Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018

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