Friday, February 19, 2010


I've been just been looking at the 1859 Post Office Directory which lists all the commercial companies and traders in London.

My eye fell on the surname Mash. I note that of the eleven people listed with that name, no fewer than six were potato dealers (well, one of these was a greengrocer, so sold potatoes). Perhaps with that name they were drawn to the profession, like Thomas Crapper to toilet manufacture, or a former colleague of mine John Sparkes to electrical engineering.

I now plan to ask the curators to turn the directory open at the Bs, so I can check whether the theory holds good for people called Banger.

The directory is an exhibit in a very interesting exhibition of nineteenth century information design, Designing information before designers, organised by colleagues working on the AHRC funded project 'Designing information for everyday life, 1815-1914'.  It has now moved from St Brides to Reading University where it will remain until 15 April.