IT is probably not advisable to criticise your new wife's skill
with pastry, nor to tell her that you intend to be the
boss. It is, however, wise to thrash drunks.
Some of the advice given by the nation's clergy in past
newspaper columns has stood the test of time, but much illustrates
how society's mores have changed during the past century.
Among old advice columns unearthed by the British Newspaper
Archive is one from the Derby Daily Telegraph in 1904,
which quotes a priest in Woodhorn, Northumberland: "We have no
teetotal society in connection with this parish church," he writes.
"Nor is there any attempt to coax or cajole people into soberness
by concerts, speeches, or hymns. A better plan, surely, than all
these weak devices is for a man who has a drunken neighbour to
thrash him as being a scandal to a neighbourhood. . . If some
straightforward way like this was adopted, we should soon hear of
fewer drunkards. We are suffering from softness."
Several of the columns discovered by the archivists relate to
married life. In the Western Gazette in 1913, the Revd A.
J. Waldorn of Brixton, wrote: "Whatever you do, don't spoil your
wedding day by telling your wife what ripping tarts your mother
makes. . . Swallow the bride's pie, and tell her it's a dream of
delight, and then take a pill on the sly."
In 1939, the Revd W. G. Roberts of St Clement's, Horsley,
advised husbands: "Never tell your wife you are going to be the
'boss'. . . it is a tactless remark, and is fundamentally untrue."
He adds that "a woman who tells her husband she is going to be
'boss' is sillier still, as it brings the whole thing to a level of
Two years after the start of the Second World War, the Revd R.
H. Hawkins of Dalston cautioned women not to contemplate a war
wedding, and urged them not to give in to "fear of being left on
the shelf", nor the "glamour of being the wife of a man in
Amy Gregor, of the British Newspaper Archive, said this week:
"The unorthodox advice given in these columns may seem odd to us
now, but at the time such advice was taken quite seriously by those
who read them. Until relatively recently, vicars were at the centre
of nearly every community, and regarded as a source of wisdom and