Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)




Do you know what this is?



Perhaps another angle might help…



Yes, it’s a pewter pot. No ordinary pot, as the one in the top photo shows.In the 18th and 19th centuries, in England, one shilling was  the daily pay of soldiers and sailors. Not the sort of riches many lads would willingly sign on for!

But England was was embroiled in more than a few scraps in those days (loss of American colonies, the need to find others, that pesky Bonaparte fellow…)and needed recruits. Many recruits. Enter the Press Gangs. No, children, not the papparazzi. These gangs were brutal thugs who rounded up men and boys and hauled them off to be “formally” sworn in.

And to “persuade” the poor fellows, they often beat them or plied them with booze. Sometimes both.

A favoured method of persuading men to “take the King’s shilling” was to drop a shilling into a tankard of drink and when the man had drunk it he saw the coin and was deemed to have accepted his wage.

Someone introduced the glass-bottomed pot, enabling a drinker to see the coin and,hopefully, make good his escape.   You can find more about it here.’s_shilling

So…how do I come to have such a pot? I’m not quite that old!  I think I found it in an  abandoned house and for years it’s held pencils and odds and sods. Sometimes  flowers. But not ale or wine. It’s rather scratched and battered and probably has enough germs to knock me flat!

Years ago, I saw Danny La Rue perform the hit song from “Oh!What a Lovely War.” I can’t find a clip of that (pity, because he was brilliant!) so here’s someone else. I wonder if you know who?

And, in the wake of the lack-lustre Oscars the other night, ask Mr. Google for the cast list of that film. Go on…








Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!

11 thoughts on “ONCE UPON A TIME…

  1. I can just see a potential recruit, half seas over, picking up his tankard to peer at it bottom up…


  2. And it said a lot about the conditions both at sea and in the Army that the Press Gangs were necessary.


  3. I looked it up on my pewter


  4. Conditions must have been awful. That drink was probably the last good thing that happened to the poor blokes for a long time. I think I have a glass bottomed tankard here somewhere but I doubt that it is old, probably repro.


  5. Snorting here over Roger’s comment.


  6. Maggie Smith?
    We have one of those somewhere. I think Barney picked it up in a junk shop years ago. Unfortunately though, it leaks.


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