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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Boredom of the British

The British are so weird and get bored easily. I just learned today that in 1809, two bored men bet that one of them in competition could make a house the most famous house in London. The bet was horrible as the man who one the bet did not even use his own house, but his neighbors, Mrs. Tottenham. The poor widow even received at least one coffin on this day. Now, that is mean. Here is the article in wiki on it, but I have heard of this crazy story from others.

Why the British do such weird things is beyond me. But, maybe someone could do this and irritate a famous person in the White House. Security wouldn't allow it.

The Berners Street Hoax was perpetrated by Theodore Hook in the City of Westminster, London, in 1809.[1][2] Hook had made a bet with his friend, Samuel Beazley, that he could transform any house in London into the most talked-about address in a week, which he achieved by sending out thousands of letters in the name of Mrs Tottenham, who lived at 54 Berners Street, requesting deliveries, visitors, and assistance.[3]
On 27 November, at five o’clock in the morning, a sweep arrived to sweep the chimneys of Mrs Tottenham's house. The maid who answered the door informed him that no sweep had been requested, and that his services were not required. A few moments later another sweep presented himself, then another, and another, 12 in all. After the last of the sweeps had been sent away, a fleet of carts carrying large deliveries of coal began to arrive, followed by a series of cakemakers delivering large wedding cakes, then doctors, lawyers, vicars and priests summoned to minister to someone in the house they had been told was dying. Fishmongers, shoemakers, and over a dozen pianos were among the next to appear, along with "six stout men bearing an organ". Dignitaries, including the Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York, theArchbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Mayor of the City of London also arrived. The narrow streets soon became severely congested with tradesmen and onlookers. Deliveries and visits continued until the early evening, bringing a large part of London to a standstill.[4]
Hook stationed himself in the house directly opposite 54 Berners Street, from where he and his friend spent the day watching the chaos unfold.[4]

People who have time like this now blog.


Anita Moore said...

You may have heard of the more sinister form of this type of hoax known as "swatting." This is where the hoaxer calls the police on some sort of disguised phone line, claiming to be the victim, and claiming that he has just shot someone at home. This of course brings regiments of cops and other emergency responders, including the SWAT team, to the house, where they burst in with guns drawn, thinking somebody is being murdered. Obviously this is the kind of thing that could get somebody killed, which is probably the idea.

Mike Cliffson said...

Well-known Brit Catholics share this sense of humour, you know. I forget if it was Belloc or Chesterton who pushing a century ago now gathered a crowd in London by impersonating a worried adult consoling a nonexistant small boy trapped in a red pillarbox "Be Brave, little fellow, we'll soon have you out, etc " then making himself scarce. And Ive seen a group of young traddie Britsih catholics spontaneously fallin in with one of thier number pulling a similar sort of thing on an overearnest-by brit standards-Amrican.

Supertradmum said...

Mike, in my youth my friends and I on a trip to Oxford, stared up at the famous clock and above it pointing as if there was something weird. It was my Brit friend's idea. A small crowd gathered and we left them looking up at nothing. Oh, well. Nothing serious.