Sunday 27 April 2014

Sweet F.A

No need to start hyperventilating for I am not about to honour my inner fishwife [well not today anyway!]....yesterday proved to have a funny little series of coincidences which led me to find the origin of this oft used phrase.

Once again I managed to make it across the county border unscathed and undetected into Hampshire...this time destination Alton to visit a long standing chum who used to be my room mate at college. Tootling along the Hogsback reading Albert Jack's informative little tome "Red Herrings and White Elephants" [a recent charity shop acquisition] I remarked in passing to Mr GBT how funny that Sweet Fanny Adams was actually a real girl and she had lived and perished in Alton. Thinking no more about it we carried on along our merry little way.

Having feasted well  said chum thought a post luncheon perambulation might be in order...a few ideas were mooted before I asked if we could sneak a peek around the local church. St Lawrence's is where the Fanny Adams of sweet Fanny Adams fame is buried my friend piped up so forth we sallied. Alas no grave was found nor surprisingly no mention in the church guide either, but more lovelies were glimpsed which I shall put up in a further postlet.

By now it was sheeting horizontally with rain so we dived into the local museum to find further mention of this now elusive Fanny Adams. It transpires that she is actually buried in the separate cemetery in Alton- we shall pay a visit another time when the weather is less inclement. Fanny was eight when she was murdered by
Frederick Baker. He scattered her dismembered remains around a hop garden and was hanged for his crime on Christmas Eve of that year in Winchester. This is her death certificate.

At the same time the Navy had introduced a new tinned meat which was cut into chunks. The Portsmouth sailors were underwhelmed and nicknamed it Sweet Fanny Adams. The phrase quickly passed across into Army usage before transferring into modern day parlance.


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