I recently stumbled across one of those odd little corners of history: apparently in 1840’s London, there was such a thing as ‘The Hoop Nuisance’.
Here is a letter from ‘A PEDESTRIAN’ complaining about its ‘danger and inconvenience’ (particularly to shins):
Sir, – I have not for many years read a paragraph in The Times which has afforded me greater pleasure than that which heads your “Police” report of this day, conveying Mr. Hardwick’s just complaint of, and directions to Inspector Baker, on the hoop nuisance. As a daily passenger along the crowded thoroughfares of London-bridge and Thames-street, where boys and even girls, drive their hoops as deliberately as if upon a clear and open common, I can bear witness to its danger and inconvenience. I have at this moment a large scar on one of my shins, the legacy of a severe wound, which festered, and was very painful for an entire month, inflicted a year ago by the iron hoop of a whey-faced, cadaverous charity-boy from Tower-hill, who on my remonstrating with him on his carelessness, added impudence to the injury, by significantly advancing his extended fingers and thumb to his nose and scampering off. Aware that I had no redress, that the police would not interfere, I was compelled to grin and bear it while I hobbled away. The nuisance calls loudly for the interference of the Police Commissioners.
Your daily reader,
September 30. A PEDESTRIAN.
letter to The Times, October 1, 1842
I don’t know if the signature was put into capitals by the writer or by someone else, but either way, I love the appropriately forceful way it ends the letter.