cats local history Yorkshire

At Old Willy’s One Night


Self Portrait, 1832; François Aimé Louis Dumoulin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Archives were shut, yesterday, for some reason or other so I had to content myself with the Reference Library instead. Ended up spending some time in the company of  Robert Sharp; a shepherd’s son who became schoolmaster at North Cave, East Riding of Yorkshire,  from 1804 to 1842.

To entertain his grown up son, who worked away in London, Robert kept a diary of everyday life in North Cave.  His extant letters to his son and the diaries that survive, are in print. Sharp was a radical, politically-inclined, mischievous man with a dry sense of humour and great fun to spend some time with, yesterday, as I scoured his diary and letters for clothing references.

Not clothing, this, it was just so random and silly I thought other fans of Georgian England would enjoy it:


Wednesday 20th January, 1830

I was at Old Willy’s one night smoking a pipe, and his Cat set on the Table , and the old Gentleman in a sort of half Doze, when I blew a quiff♥ up the cat’s nose – which made her jump clean over his head on the Flour bin,  and then off again, in a crazy sort of way. Bless me he says how my Cat jumps about, it must be a sign of bad weather.


♥ “QUIFF” meant “a curl”.



The Diary of Robert Sharp of South Cave. Life in a Yorkshire Village 1812- 1837,

Eds. Janice E Crowther and Peter A Crowther, Oxford University Press, 1997.


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