A daily excerpt from a a historical edition of Punch – the greatest satirical magazine in history

Category: Fashion

Death to the Top Hat (please)


“This is the centenary of the tall hat.”—Daily News.


A hundred years of hideousness,

Constricted brows, and strain, and stress!

And still, despite humanity’s groan,

The torturing, “tall-hat” holds its own!

What proof more sure and melancholy

Of the dire depths of mortal folly?

Mad was the hatter who invented

The demon “topper,” and demented

The race that, spite of pain and jeers,

Has borne it—for One Hundred Years!

(September 1890)


Your Handy Guide to Clerical Beards #9. The Niagara

The Niagara is unusual, but in a few cases finds favour ; it is formed by shaving away all hirsute append-ages above an ideal line drawn across the face from the tip of one ear to that of the other, and allowing all below the line to grow in perpendicular freedom. It becomes clerical gents of a middle age who still rejoice in hirsute privileges on the lower part of the coun-tenance, and is an assertion of vigorous manhood, especially be-coming when the upper sphere of the cranium has been divested of  its capillary attractions.

Well, that’s the final one in this series, which we began on the 9th July (today for me, obviously!) I will leave you with Punch’s final words on clerical beards.

These are the principal beards that adorn our pulpits ; they admit of many subdivisions which it would be tedious to particularise. No doubt they greatly strengthen the Establishment by increasing the respect in which the clergy are held. Dissent came in with the razor; LATIMER, CRANMER, and RIDLEY, of course had beards, and it was the beard that awed the rebellious Puritan till the days of LAUD. The Roundheads clipped their locks in mockery of a shaven clergy. The beard alone is want-ing to restore unity and piety to the land; it is a sure intimation that the clergy are above the poor vanities of the world allow Nature to assert her privileges and are too much taken up with higher duties to attend to the adornments ol their persons.

Mr. Punch concludes by suggesting that as they permit their hair to grow ” like eagle’s feathers,” they should suffer their ” nails to grow like birds’ claws,” the effect of such a conjunction in the pulpit
would be irresistible.

(5th March 1864)

Your Handy Guide to Clerical Beards #8. The Lynx

The Lynx is most appropriate for preachers of the Boanerges class. It is easily achieved, but requires attention : the eye-brows must be gummed up at the corners, the moustache properly turned up secured with gum, and the chin be cleanly shaved with a semicircular line each side. A good Lynx terrifies evil-doers, particularly of the female class.

The Lynx, of course, was famously sported by wolverine of the X-men.

(5th March 1864)

Your Handy Guide to Clerical Beards #7. The Gibbon

We next have the Gibbon, a very becoming fringe, suggested by that amiable species of ape. It is a straight fringe round the face: it only requires frequent brushing to keep it stiff and straight, gum may be required, and Mr. Punch does not object to a tint of cosmetic if the hair be turning grey.

(5th March 1864)

Your Handy Guide to Clerical Beards #6. The Turkeycock

The animal creation affords us some lessons on this subject which we may improve, and of which the clergy have taken very proper advantage. For instance, the Turkeycock affords us a hint for a very charming arrangement of pilosity. In this case we allow neither beard nor moustache, but a very simple development of the whisker. It is brought down in the shape of a turkeycock’s jowls, the scizzors, curling-tongs, with gum, and if needful a horsehair centre, will bring this admired form to perfection.

(5th March 1864)

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