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 I need help w/ some British terminology circa 1930

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Old Master
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Joined: 12 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Someone from the UK can help me here. I need to know the British terms for these common Yank words:

And BTW...these would be terms used by what we would describe as "middle class" people such as store clerks, lorry drivers, police officers, etc. (You know...the real backbone of the nation!)

1. What would a "grandmother-type" lady have called her "purse," or "handbag" back about 1930?

2. In USA we have a "Certified Public Accountant" or just an "accountant." What's the Brit term?

3. What would the "assistant manager" of an "accounting firm" be called?

4. What do you call a "bus?" You know, the big motor coaches that take British tourists to see the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, etc. NOTE: I do NOT want the name of the big London double-deckers. NOTE #2: What would a smaller, maybe thirty-passenger bus have been called back about 1930...this is actually the term I need!

5. A small town located about 15 miles from London, in 1930...what would a local, uniformed, police constable be called? I need the formal name, and then their nickname, please.

6. I assume there were "ice men" in the UK back before refrigerators; they came around in horse-drawn wagons, and would chip you off five or ten pounds of ice. What would they have called the instrument they used? (We called it an "ice pick.")

7. A London "accountant" living in a suburb of London; he's standing in the queue waiting for his "bus." It is cold and damp, and he is wearing his "overcoat" over top his office coat and tie. What would that "overcoat" have been called in 1930?

8. The accountant is carrying his "briefcase" know, the leather or vinyl bag an office worker might carry to look important but it really contains his lunch and a girlie magazine. What do you call a "briefcase?"

Okay, I feel that I'm pushing my luck here so I'll stop. I may have need for more but if so perhaps I'll do it by PM. THANKS SO MUCH!!!

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Master Baiter

Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 104
Location: Timbuktoo

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:07 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I'll try for you Old Master. Bear in kind that I was not born until 1938. But many of the expressions would be the same and will not have changed a great deal even since then.
1.Purses have traditionally been called "handbags" in the U.K. (since the time of coracles).
2. A Chartered Accountant
3. I think he would have been simply called the "Assistant Manager". Or MR.****** with much emphasis on the MISTER. Brits are very rank conscious.
4. What North Americans call a coach would (or would have been, as many American expressions have crept into U.K. English), been called a "charabanc". (Don't ask me why, probably because it was a bank of chairs on an original chassis Smile
5. He would have been called a "Constable" or more familiarly a "Bobbie". He could also have been called a "Peeler". Both of these latter names were slang taken from the founder of the original London Metropolitan Police Force, Sir Robert (Bobbie) Peel (Peeler). i.e. Sir Robert Peel. This would be a very good item to use in your bait as it would lend great credibility to your character.
6. I'm not suer that Brits used ice boxes. We never had one anyway. Britain does not suffer truly cold winters so there would be no natural source of ice, and refrigeration was not invented at that time I would think. If ice were brought from abroad it would have been horrendously expensive and way out of reach for the Brit you describe.
7. It would have been called an "overcoat" or possibly a "greatcoat". As kids we talked of our overcoats (which we often put on our beds to add warmth on the cold damp nights). Another coat used greatly by the Brits you describe would be the "Mackintosh" or "Mac". This would be equivalent to the American raincoat. A well-known manufacturer of "Macs" was the Burberry Company and this name (i,e, Burberry), became synonymous with "Macs" also.
8. The case would most likely have been called a "Briefcase" because originally they epitomised lawyers ("Solicitors" in Britain), and were used to carry legal "Briefs" into court. (As well as the girlie magazine). They would ALL have been leather as 'vinyl' had not been invented at that time.

Hope this helps. If you need more contact me via private message box.
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Punk Pony

Joined: 06 Jul 2007
Posts: 1648
Location: busy doing nothing, somewhere

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:41 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The word you are looking for under 6 is pantry or larder
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Tommo Shanter
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Joined: 13 Jan 2006
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Location: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. - Euripides

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Here's my answers...

1. Grandmas keep their money in purses which then went in their hand bags, which usually had handles on them.

2. Chartered Accountant

3. Nowadays most Brit accountancy firms are limited partnerships. The partners share the profits in agreed percentages or fixed share for junior partners. Not sure that there would be 'Assistant Managers' then, but there would be 'Managers' reporting directly to the partners, who they would address as 'Mr XXX'

4. Coaches

5. Nickname ' a bobby'. I suppose it depended on who was addressing them or talking about them. I don't think the crims were particularly polite in their terms of endearment. 'Rossers' or 'the filth' were two of the more polite terms.

6. Don't know.

7. Long waterproof overcoat would by called a 'mac' short for' Macintosh'. A non-waterproof coat would be called his 'overcoat'.

8. 'A briefcase'. I never had any girlie mags in mine and the handle dropped off on the way to see an elderly client at home. Very embarrassing!

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Elite Baiter

Joined: 08 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Store clerks, lorry drivers, police officers etc weren't middle-class. That would have been civil servants, people working in offices etc. Shop workers (clerks) etc would have been regarded as working class.

Plus, icehouses have been quite common among the well-off since the 1700s or earlier, who would have had the ice delivered (usually wrapped in straw, for insulation).

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