Thursday, 22 December, 1927

Ever since I invented the conceit of a time machine I have been very happy on my blog puttering about in funny little corners of the library, flicking through Hansards and Listeners, and microfiche, and reading very obscure books.  Something about all of this pleases me very much, and I should warn you that I will be doing quite a bit of it.  In fact, I think I might have discovered what my blog is about after five years of enjoyable but largely aimless writing.  People who have had the misfortune of reading this blog for the last five years might have noticed that I actually finished the last thing I wrote.  I aimed to do ten posts about 2 March, 1981 and I did ten (actually twelve, but who’s counting).

Finally, before we move on, you might notice that I changed my blog’s theme back to it’s original design.  I was finding the other one impractical.  I have also dropped the old header photo.  I have two daughters now, and that photo only had one of them in it, which seemed a bit unfair.

So, back in the time machine for another round of posts.


Stories about 22 December, 1927 (1/8)

My time machine this time has taken me to a Wellington and a New Zealand that I don’t know.  Three days before Christmas in 1927.  Somehow the past always seems more connected to me if I can connect it to my family and in 1927 I know that my mother’s parents were very young, but my father’s – who were older – already had three of their four kids (my father was the fourth and he was born in 1929).  Strange to think of this paper having once existed when all of my grandparents were alive and well.

Let us start on the flank of The Evening Post, towards the back of that paper, because page 19 of The Evening Post on 22 December, 1927 is a strange one.  The only article on this page is a long piece about the Barnes Controversy in England.  Barnes was the Bishop of Birmingham and he had been arguing that theories of evolution needed to be incorporated into modern church teachings.  This had annoyed quite a few people (as you might imagine), and the Archbishop of Canterbury had finally stepped in to pooh pooh Barnes’ silly ideas: “I believe you  overrate the adherence of thoughtful people to the Creation theories of 50 or 100 years ago.”  The Archbishop was also quick to dismiss Barnes’ ideas that the sacrament was a bunch of mumbo jumbo.  The chief (ahem) primate ends by suggesting the way forward is meekness.

Other than that page 19 gives us a lot of advertising which is mildly diverting.  I learned, for example, that there used to be a used car lot on Lambton Quay selling mostly American models (Studebaker, Ford, and Buick), but also some that I have never heard of (the Rugby Coupe and the British Bean Sedan).  The company North’s was promoting their new “low-down cistern” which they are happy to explain (“It used to high but now it’s… low”), and we are entreated to buy asprin:

Don’t they now claim that asprin is good for the heart? 

Aspro never fails for: alcoholic after-effects or periodical pains peculiar to women.  Good to know.

Immediately below this advert we get another product which apparently has medicinal properties,

Made “specially” to prevent sore throats.  Wow. 


But aside from dark laughter at the cancer ads of the past, I draw your attention to the fact that a (frightening looking) woman is selling this product to boys of “this generation” because it is the boys and girls of the flapper generation that we will be looking at next.

2 thoughts on “Thursday, 22 December, 1927”

  1. I’m excited because I was born on December 22 (though 47 years later).

    Regarding flappers, my grandfather lived in Chicago for a few years in the 1920s, right in the midst of prohibition, gangsters and all that jazz. He always claimed that flappers weren’t very common, and he was puzzled that they came to symbolise the ’20s. I guess it’s in a similar way that “greasers” came to symbolise the ’50s, even though there was so much more to popular culture and fashion of the era than that.

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