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Leather Apron as the "mad snob"

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  • Leather Apron as the "mad snob"

    I was just rereading some newspaper articles from early September 1888 where 'Leather Apron' is also described as being called the "mad snob" by women on the streets.
    I always wondered what this nickname actually meant...anybody know?

  • #2
    "Snob" seems to be an unusual term of endearment,doesn't it Debs?

    Particularly from proletarian women and prosses...
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    • #3
      Hi Debra

      Never saw or noticed that before. Very strange.


      • #4

        If you mean what is "snob" in the English language, it usually represents a sneering person or someone "looking down their nose at you"

        Although it usually equates with one of the upper classes looking down on inferior classes, snobbiness can occur within a class - so if "Leather Apron" was a denizen of the East End and frequented the place, but somehow gave the impression of superiority or looking down on those around him, he would be classed as a "snob"


        • #5
          Hi all, thanks for the replies.
          Stephen, thanks for that link, the shoemaker reference is an interesting one and would also fit with Pizer wouldn't it?

          Nemo, I can't see the usual definition of snob fitting this character somehow though, although it does describe his father as well-to-do.

          The police description of him is; Aged 30 years; height 5ft 3in; complexion, dark, sallow; hair and moustache black ; thick set; dressed in old and dirty clothing; and is of Jewish appearance. The enquiries of our special representative led to the discovery that he is the son of a fairly well-to-do Russian Jew, but he is discarded by the Jewish fraternities as one who is a disgrace to their tribe.
          There seems to be a sort of snobbery on the part of some of the Jewish community towards "Mad snob" himself there.

          BTW,does the description of the well-to-do Russian Jew as a father fit with what is known of Pizer?


          • #6
            Hi Deb - can I just clarify, the person does not have to be upper-class or well to do to be referred to as a snob

            The act that designates you as a snob can be very trivial

            ie everybody drinks beer, I insist on wine - I am called a snob

            or - I prefer to sit alone when eating rather than lunch with my workmates - a reference might be made like "he's too good for the likes of us" - and I may be called a snob

            I suggest that "Leather Apron" possibly did not drink, or did not use the prostitutes - something like that

            He must have set himself apart from those around him in some (possibly trivial) manner which resulted in him being called a "snob"


            • #7

              A few posts back,I mentioned the proles and the prosses.

              If he was referred to as a snob by "the women on the streets"...i.e. the prosses...maybe even one or two ( who were undoubtedly those who percieved him as such,since they were the ones interviewed...around 50 of 'em) might be a matter of them feeling he was superior to them since their side-venture or fulltime avocation of prossing is almost universally looked down upon....I could understand them stating he assumed a "high and mighty" stance towards them if his only contact with them was to verbally,even physically, harass them as they claimed he did.... all the while sharing the same neighborhood as they did and being little better off in reality.

              On the other hand, we don't know whether women who did not participate in prossing were women who worked in chandler shops or housewives...and its pretty unlikely to me that the papers did interview that type of lady ....therefore,its more likely that those who were chatted up by the newspaper men were prosses.
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              • #8
                Thanks for the ideas, How and Nemo.
                The idea of the modern interpretation of a "snob" just didn't seem to apply here, for me anyway. The man who was later identified by Thick as "Leather Apron" didn't seem to fit the persona of a snob, especially from later reports dug up by Chris Scott of a seemingly humble and broken man, deeply affected by his experiences of being dubbed "leather apron" and I was particularly interested in how the tern "mad snob" could relate to Pizer himself.

                Anyhow, I spent last night reading through tons of 18th and 19th century material and did find that Stephen's original definition link could be the answer. There were lots of references (too many to mention) to the word "snob" being related to a person in the shoemaking or cobbler trade, shoemaker's apprentices being termed "snob's boys" and one particular court case where a Thomas Evans described in court as a "snob" specifically seems to relate to his trade as a shoemaker.
                It's just my opinion, but this would seem to fit better with Pizer himself, in that he was a slipper maker by trade.

                ...what do you both think?


                • #9

                  I liken it to someone referring to a irascible hatmaker as a "Mad Hatter".

                  I think your conclusion seems kosher dear lady
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                  • #10
                    Hi Debra

                    I agree with your interpretation really, strange how almost everything in this case has alternative interpretations

                    We cannot use modern words to mean the same in a Victorian context

                    The shoemake/snob association is much more likely in the expression "mad snob" I think


                    • #11
                      From SPE ( with thanks for yet another contribution !)

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                      • #12
                        Thanks, How, Nemo and SPE for posting that definition. That's another one of my wonderings crossed off my list