Wonderful Advice Given by Vicars in the UK, From 1904 to 1939 | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Wonderful Advice Given by Vicars in the UK, From 1904 to 1939

We do love the many wonderful advice columns that can be found in the British Newspaper Archive.

Perhaps it was all the time we spent poring over the problem pages in teenage magazines when we were stroppy and spotty adolescents that led to our ongoing obsession with agony aunts, agony uncles and, er, agony vicars.

Yes, agony vicars! For our favourite type of advice column in the BNA at the moment are the gems of wisdom that were offered by vicars across the UK in the first half of the 20th Century. Much like the Oracle of Delphi (except one that drinks lots of tea), the nation’s vicars would share their homespun advice on all manner of subjects.

In particular, we love the common sense advice given to newlyweds, regarding how best to achieve marital bliss. For example, the Reverend AJ Waldorn of Brixton maintained the secret to domestic bliss in 1913 was pastry-based diplomacy. He advised, “Whatever you do, don’t spoil your wedding day by telling your wife what ripping tarts your mother makes”. If a bride’s puddings are not up to scratch, simply “swallow the bride’s pie, and tell her it’s a dream of delight, and then take a pill on the sly”.

Likewise, in 1939, WG Roberts of Horsley St. Clements counselled, “never tell your wife you are going to be the boss”, as “it is a tactless remark, and is fundamentally untrue”. He adds that a “woman who tells her husband she is going to be ‘boss’ is sillier still, as it brings the whole thing to a level of brute force”.

But our favourite nugget of vicarly advice (and certainly the scariest!), comes from a reverend in Woodhorn, Northumberland. Speaking in 1904, this un-named cleric must have been a disciple of the Old Testament, as he tells his flock what must be done to remove the curse of drunkenness from their parish – ‘Thrash the Drunkards’ is the sensational headline for this story.

To read the fire and brimstone words of this anti-softness vicar, click on the link below to view the newspaper page for FREE.

If you see any other quirky advice columns in The Archive, please give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook.

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