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Catch-Up Service: a Rhondda-vous with the history of 100 years ago

A correspondent adds to my Top 10 list, now a Top 30, of things named after politicians

John Rentoul
Thursday 05 May 2016 07:30 BST
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DA Thomas, Lord Rhondda, 1856-1918
DA Thomas, Lord Rhondda, 1856-1918

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My friend David Mills emails from America, where he has been reading a "very good book" called Zeppelin Nights – London in the First World War, by Jerry White. In which he has discovered another "thing named after a politician" to add to my list. My list was in fact Verbs From a Politician's Name, but as all nouns can be used as verbs these days, I shall admit this entry.

This is from a section about rationing in 1917:

In April compulsion was applied to restaurants, hotels and clubs by a Public Meals Order. The manufacture of "light pastries, muffins, crumpets and tea-cakes" was prohibited – the muffin man disappearing from London’s streets, where he had been a fixture for generations. Cakes and buns to the value of 1s 9d per person could be had after 6 pm – those who indulged to the last penny were known as "Bun hogs" and Lyons and other tea shops were known as "Rhondda-vous" after the new Food Controller, Lord Rhondda, appointed in June.

Lord Rhondda, a businessman and Liberal MP known for most of his life as DA Thomas (above), was quite a character. This bit from his Wikipedia entry is good:

In May 1915 he was on the RMS Lusitania when she was torpedoed. He and his daughter, Margaret, were among the survivors. A humorous story, remembered by his daughter, was that the local (Cardiff) Evening Express newspaper displayed a poster about the sinking that read, "Great National Disaster. DA Saved." The somewhat equivocal compliment amused DA Thomas immensely.

Allen Clement Edwards MP related the story of an aged collier who, on being informed that Thomas had been in the ship when it had gone down, declared, "I will wait till tomorrow. He always comes out on top, and I promise you this: he will come to the top of the water again with a big fish in each of his hands."

My Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens from Politics to Pop, is available in all good bookshops, and just £3.79 on Kindle.

♦ Meanwhile, the Catch-Up Service has fallen behind in its updates from what Gordon Brown called the websphere. (If you don't want to miss them, sign up for email reminders.) So here are several at once:

Thanks to Glenny Rodge ‏for this:

"Is it a bird?"

"Is it a plane?"

Clark Kent. Terrible at charades.

To Avery Edison ‏for this:

On the pedestal these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias – King of Kings;

Look on my Works, and let me know what you think in the comments.

To Keet Potato for this:

[Paddling along the Amazon silently in a kayak.]

Wife: "It's so beautiful."

Me: "Can you believe they named this after a website?"

To Moose Allain ‏for this:

"Go on Mr Cumberbatch! Go on!"

Eggs Benedict.

And for this:

“Hello, is that the Bank of Children’s Stories?”

“Yes.”

“I’d like to open an account.”

“Go ahead.”

"Once upon a time…"

And finally for this:

My therapist says he's cured my kleptomania. I’ll have to take his word for it.

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