The bank and other shops at Blists Hill
Great costumes and great sayings at Blists Hill
A funny sign at Blists Hill.
*Please ensure all ladies, children and servants are out of the room prior to enlarging this photo
Mr Gnarus and I spent a good few happy hours there this very day, chortling at some very dubious signage and sampling its many delights and I can thoroughly recommend the bakers shortbread. Indeed, some like the baker were real tradesmen skilled in their work whilst others among the local inhabitants termed themselves 'demonstrators' and were a mine of information. Especially when it came to the origins and evolution of certain well known sayings, all of which are related to some aspect of the artisan's craft long, long ago. I committed them to memory, only so as to regurgitate them here for your enjoyment...
To Come a Cropper - Meaning to have an accident.
In the 19th century one Thomas Cropper invented the Cropper printing press which was commonly operated by children of twelve years and over. Many got their hands trapped in the press and due to the momentum of its large and powerful flywheel, many lost fingers and hands. Hence the saying.
Being in Fine Fettle - Meaning to be in good health in both mind and body.
'Fettling' is the process of cleaning off the residue and other materials left on an object by the process of casting, whether that be cast iron or plaster work which was a popular craft in the 19th century. Thus when an object was fettled it was seen to be in good order, hence the saying.
Stinking Rich - Meaning to be very wealthy.
Candle makers producing cheap tallow (Animal fat) candles in the 19th century could produce huge amounts of candles for sale. We were informed this day that one man, working 19 hours a day, 6 days a week, could make 30,000 candles in a week, which he sold by the lb . Most of his materials like animal fat had no other use and so were cheap and so a hard working candle maker could make lots of money. But tallow or animal fat is very smelly and it seeped into the skin, leaving the candle maker a bit whiffy, hence the saying.
Old Git - Meaning someone who is not liked and is even considered a waste of space.
When Iron was cast using the sand moulding technique, the reservoirs into which molten iron was poured and also allowed to expand and escape was of course also filled with excess cast iron that had to be removed after the cast object has cooled. These excess iron pieces were called 'git's and were waste material, hence the saying.
That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed these sayings as much as did I!
+Many Coats+ R.S.A.R