Lewis Jones

Not a patch on our own Dear Mary

Claire Cock-Starkey’s collection of outmoded advice from volumes in the British Library is published too early in the year — it would have made a great Christmas loo book

As Dear Mary so wittily demonstrates, our need for advice is perennial. But fashions change. Mary would probably take issue with The Handbook of the Toilette (1839), which advises that one should take a weekly bath whether one needs to or not, and also with the recommendation of Cassell’s Home Encyclopedia (1934) that ‘bloater cream’ makes excellent cocktail canapés.

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