The Borough’s Bye-Laws have been kindly published by the Council, and as a result, the law abiding citizens of Twickenham need to be on their guard so as to ensure that they do not transgress. There appears to be different sets of rules applying to the three parts of the Borough united when the London Borough came into existence in 1965. Although there are a lot of similar provisions, those for Twickenham affect us and make interesting reading, perhaps.

Dating from 1929 is a delightful rag-bag of restrictions, made for the better Governance of the then Borough of Twickenham and still, it seems, in force.

You may not, “in any street, pr public place, throw or leave any orange peel, banana skin, or other dangerous substance on any highway.” Nor may you from your carriage or wagonette throw out “any money or other article to be scrambled for by children or other persons on the road or footway”. And forbear if you please from scattering therefrom any “newspaper, paper wrappings or coverings, orange peel, banana skins or other litter.”

There seems to be a mild obsession with banana skins and orange peel here which is not to be found in the similar bye-laws effective in Richmond. However in Barnes, orange peel and banana skins are similarly interdicted, as is the game of “tipcat”, a children’s game involving hitting a sharpened stick into the air; which might, I suppose, have frequently impaled local residents.

Reverting to our own neighbourhood, you may not drive or lead in a public place “any bull exceeding the age of twelve months unless it is properly secured and kept under proper control.” Presumably younger bulls may be led without such safeguards. Nor may you loiter outside the entrance to places of worship in such a way as to annoy worshippers. From 1936, leaving your hedge cuttings on the street after sunset has been wholly out of order.

More comforting is a regulation dating from 1968 which provides that hairdressers and barbers must keep any open boil or sore on any exposed part of their body covered with an impermeable dressing.

If this is all a bit boring and you are beginning to drop off, please be advised that you are forbidden from sleeping in libraries if you are asked not to by a library officer.

– from Laurence Mann