A Guide to Etiquette on the Omnibus – Published in 1891

Posted on March 27th, 2013 by The British Newspaper Archive

Oi! No spitting, no smoking, no swearing, no sitting next to sensitive souls on the last bus home and embarrassing them with coarse, stentorian conversation and awkward, impertinent questions – oh, these famous ‘strong advice’ signs on buses are sweet music to our ears.

newspaper report about bus etiquetteWe’re BIG fans of etiquette at the BNA. Indeed, we’ve posted several stories about etiquette on the blog over the past few months – just enter ‘etiquette’ into the search engine for the blog to find these articles. So when we found this article on ‘bus etiquette from a newspaper published in 1891, we had to post it on the blog.

So if you’ve ever tut-tutted and tsked and grrred (or even gently remonstrated with) at somebody for displaying an absence of grace and etiquette while travelling on a bus/train/plane, then you’ll enjoy reading this article. And we do love the mysterious byline, ‘By a Mild Reformer’, and the ‘bus abbreviation is so endearing – we often forget that omnibus is the proper term, so we are very fond of that apostrophe in ‘bus.

Oh, and best not to get us started about uncouth behaviour on the last bus home – much missionary work still needs to be done in that most dangerous of areas. Truly, the abundance of bad manners suggests that ‘the country is going to the dogs’! That said, it’s ages since we’ve been to the dogs… hmm, think we might pop down to ‘the dogs’ next week and have a wee flutter…

newspaper report about bus etiquette

Bristol Mercury – Monday 05 January 1891



newspaper report about bus etiquette

The Graphic – Saturday 13 October 1900



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2 Responses to “A Guide to Etiquette on the Omnibus – Published in 1891”

Jill MackenzieApril 18th, 2013 at 11:07 am

Perhaps a list would be useful these days re. children standing on seats, and being noisy, also adults also using seats for their feet.
I was struck by the fact that the cigar was regarded as a weed even in those days. At least smoking is banned now on buses.

BNAApril 18th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Hi Jill, yes, perhaps not that much has changed since this article was published. Plus ca change! Regards, Grant.

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