20th October 1861


Dr Andrew Dell, a physician, was passing through Crawley-street on Monday when he was caught by the leg in a lady’s crinoline as the wearer was passing, thrown to the ground, and his ankle-bone fractured.

An old pensioner named Mann, seventy-one years of age, was proceeding along King-street, Yarmouth, when a lady amply crinolined passed him very hastily and her dress catching his leg knocked him down and broke his leg in two places. The “lady” proceeded onwards without offering sympathy for the unfortunate man.


The matter of the wearing of crinolines becomes ever more serious. It would be a public service if somebody would publish a list of the known casualties from this cause. Besides the deaths by fire, there have been many by crushing under carriage wheels and in machinery and in narrow spaces where a woman reasonably dressed would be in no danger. There have been cases of actual disembowelling from the gashes inflicted by broken steel springs and hoops. There have been drownings, wounds, crushings, burnings—many torturing modes of death; and it is no wonder that juries and coroners now appeal to the sex to cease their subornation of murder.

How is it to be done? some ask. We are told our country-women are apt to follow a fashion abjectly because they have a horror of appearing independent in their judgment about external appearances and of earning the name of being “strong-minded women”. Has it never occurred to them what dreadful strength of mind it must require to uphold a fashion which will inevitably cause the death by torture of a certain number of persons before the end of the year?

We are told that the imaginations of women are too strong for their judgment; and that they are carried away by an idea. We should say rather that it is from defect of imagination that they err in this case. If they could once see a girl in the agonies of burning, and hear her shrieks; if they could once encounter the little procession carrying a child to the hospital, his back broken by a lady’s petticoat having swept him under the wheels of a dray; if they could see a factory worker caught by the skirt, and crushed before the shaft could be stopped, they would gladly wear any shape of gown for the rest of their days rather than be responsible in the millionth degree for any more such intolerable spectacles.

Who will introduce a change in the habits of women? Surely we may look for this to the first lady in the land. If the Queen were known to discountenance the fashion of hoops which renders it all too easy to set women and children on fire, the evil would immediately disappear from our drawing rooms, our streets and our places of work.


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