Japes and toffs

From Wikipedia:

“Edward Turnour, 6th Earl Winterton, PC (4 April 1883 – 26 August 1962), styled Viscount Turnour until 1907, was an Irish peer and British politician in the first half of the twentieth century who achieved the rare distinction of serving as both Baby of the House and Father of the House at the opposite ends of his career in the House of Commons.

Turnour was the son of Edward Turnour, 5th Earl Winterton, and Lady Georgiana Susan Hamilton (1841–1913), daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn.
Turnour was educated at Eton College.

Turnour was first elected for Horsham in a by-election in 1904 at the age of just 21, the youngest Member of Parliament (MP) in the Commons, and remained an MP for the next 47 years. In 1907 he succeeded his father, becoming 6th Earl Winterton. This was an Irish peerage and did not disqualify him from remaining a member of the House of Commons.

In September 1910 the mother of Ivy Gordon-Lennox acted to contradict a rumour that her daughter was engaged to marry Winterton, going so far as to place a notice in The New York Times to say that there was no engagement. Winterton married the Honourable Cecilia Monica Wilson, daughter of Charles Wilson, 2nd Baron Nunburnholme, in 1924.”

From: The Changing Scene (1937), by Arthur Calder-Marshall:

“In Pre-War, Earl Winterton relates the following jape, which was played on a holiday in Holland with some English officers.

“At the last station before we reached Ijmuiden, one of the officers, as the train slowly steamed out of the station, snatched off the cap of the stationmaster, a most resplendent individual, and afterwards, just as the train had reached the end of the platform, threw it back to him, shouting ‘Catchee capee.’ The stationmaster, who seemed to be a humourless Dutchman, was very annoyed.” “.

Posted on January 25, 2010 at 7reasons.org:

7 Reasons to Keep the Traditional Police Helmet

1. Pregnancy. In the U.K., a pregnant woman can legally urinate wherever she likes. She can even, if she requests to, urinate in a policeman’s helmet. I’m not sure that it’s a practical receptacle for urine – the ventilation holes in the side would prove a particular problem – but it’s surely a desirable thing to pee in. Who among us wouldn’t want to have a go at that?

2. Theft. Stealing a traditional policeman’s helmet is a part of British popular culture. P.G.Wodehouse’s most famous creation, Bertie Wooster, was fined £5 for stealing a policeman’s helmet on Boat Race night. It’s not just a sport for fictional toffs though. Drunkenly trying to steal a policeman’s helmet is a pastime which is practiced by all classes. The correct method for removing one is to knock it forward from behind, thus obviating the efficacy of the chin-strap, before running very quickly (we imagine).

3.  Height.  The traditional police helmet is hard and is approximately 30cm tall.  In theory, it could be used by a policeman to stand on to look over a wall or through a high window.  I don’t know what they’d see, but it could be important.

4.  Food. The traditional police helmet is sometimes used by policemen to store their fish and chips.  It keeps them warm until they arrive back at the station for their break, and stops them from seeming as lardy and food-obsessed as their American counterparts.  The vinegary scent which emanates from within the helmet often confuses passers-by.

5. Visibility. It is important that the police are a visible presence on the streets to enforce law and order. This is why they wear those retina-burningly bright high-visibility jackets. You can’t see those on a crowded street though as they, and their wearers, are obscured by the throng. You can, however, see the traditional police helmet as it protrudes from the body of a crowd. You can see it as a reassuring beacon radiating order, or you can imagine it as a shark’s fin portending danger – humming the Jaws theme is optional. The one thing you can’t do is miss it.

6.  Protection. Unlike the more modern police cap, the traditional police helmet is hard and will actually protect a policeman from a blow to the head which, as they deal with the sort of people that might possibly hit them over the head – criminals and the like – would seem to be a desirable feature.  It also protects bald policemen from the effects of the sun, and from the taunts of teenage boys, for whom baldness is more amusing than almost anything.

7. Tradition. Not all traditions are good. Throwing goats from church towers or having to pull crackers while your Christmas dinner goes cold are particularly pointless and cruel traditions. The traditional policeman’s helmet, however, is an example of a good tradition. The traditional police helmet is redolent of Dixon of Dock Green, of Bobbies on the beat, of the nice copper who gave you boiled sweets and reunited you with your parents when you were six years old and lost in Coventry city centre. It brings to mind the avuncular face of policing. Traditionally, the sort of chap that you would ask for directions, or the time, wore a police helmet. Would you ask a copper in a modern police cap the way to the train station? You’d probably think twice. He might pepper-spray you and give you an ASBO or a fixed-penalty-notice for wasting police time or loitering. A modern police cap signifies that its wearer is a policeman or woman; a traditional police helmet bestows upon its wearer the dignity and gravitas of a fine and noble institution.”

(Wikipedia): “Ask a P’liceman” (sometimes given as “If You Want to Know the Time Ask a Policeman”) is a music hall song. It was first performed in 1888 by English comedian James Fawn, and was written by Edward William Rogers (1864–1913) and Augustus Edward Durandeau (1848–1893).
Fawn was known as one of the best comedic impersonators of a drunken person. The song was “filled with references that reflected the Victorian working-class mistrust of the officers of the law”, and made fun of the frequent claim that, if arrested for drunkenness, one’s pocket watch was likely to go missing at the police station, with the line “Every member of the force / Has a watch and chain, of course.” “

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