Ladies – Don’t Look on Page 25!

James Watt Centenary Commemoration

James Watt Centenary Commemoration, September 1919 [LF 78.1 WAT]

I thought I would share this experience because it made me smile and reminded me why I enjoy working with the Archives so much. In Digitisation and Outreach, we make digital copies of material for many reasons; this item was copied for an article which will appear in the Birmingham Post Newspaper on the Archives of Soho. The item is a programme of celebrations from a scrapbook compiled to reflect the 1919 James Watt Centenary Commemoration. As I was editing the image, the sentence at the bottom caught my eye – and as a ‘Lady’ I was hooked and immediately turned to page 25!

What I found was this advertisement for Madame Lilly: James Watt Centenary Commemoration

The 1900s saw a revival of spiritualism and a growing interest in paranormal studies which would have been heightened by fin de siècle anxieties as the century closed, this in turn led to the renaissance of palmistry.  Fortune telling and mysticism was a common type of entertainment in the drawing rooms of the rich and across wider society along with featuring in many novels of the time.


And in contrast, this more grounded advert was on the facing page:


Advert for National Federation of Women Workers

Advert for National Federation of Women Workers, 1919

Amanda Edwards (Archives & Heritage Assistant – Cataloguing)




2 responses to “Ladies – Don’t Look on Page 25!

  1. As a gentleman, I was hooked too. Was it a savvy bit of marketing?

  2. Pingback: Revived Archives « A Robin Hood's Musing

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