Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Obeying the rules

At Bicton Park near Exeter there is a notice of the rules to be obeyed by the gardeners - and the fines for failing to do so. It was put up by J. Barnes, the head gardener , on 16th September 1842. They are not quite so harsh as they sound since the money was divided equally amongst the men at the end of year or put to such use as the men agreed upon. (Note there were, of course, no women working the gardens in those days.) Some of them are forerunners of our health and safety notices such as not
leaving anything dangerous about the stoke-holes or furnaces and coming to work with shoes laced or tied. If you click on the picture below you can read the rules in their entirety but my favourites are:-

Coming to work on a Monday morning with a dirty shirt - 3d
Smoking a pipe of tobacco in the hours of work - 4d
Going into any hothouse, greenhouse &c, or walking on any gravel walk with dirty shoes - 3d
Any person employed in these departments, found gathering fruit with unwashed hands - 4d
Swearing or making use of bad language, for every separate evil expression - 3d
Damaging or in any way mutilating or defacing the above Rules - 12d

"Bloody hell, me pipe's gone out", he said, as he slouched along the gravel path on Monday morning, the tail of his dirty shirt hanging out of his trousers which hardly reached his muddy, unlaced boots.


  1. I think that dirty shirt rule should be enforced now.

  2. Priceless bit of history!!!
    Love Granny

  3. hahaha

    those really are some rules


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