Once upon a time there was a man living in these parts called Henry Budd and he was absolutely loaded. Not only did he own the riverside estate “Twickenham Park” in what was to become St Margarets but he also had properties on Marine Drive in Brighton and Russell Square in London as well as a rather prestigious family mausoleum at St. Matthews Church in Brixton.
Henry Budd was born in 1787 and in 1805 married Charlotte Swain. They had a number of children who unfortunately seemed to die young. Their first son Richard popped off in 1830. In 1848 wife Charlotte followed suit, swiftly followed by youngest daughter Emmeline in 1851 and older daughter Charlotte in 1854. The family mausoleum - clearly a sound investment - was kept busy.
Realising that he was running out of both progeny and time, in the late 1850’s wealthy Mr Budd decided that he should make a Will. It contained two notable conditions. The first was that his two surviving sons, William and Edward, should maintain the family mausoleum in Brixton - “at their own expense throughout their lifetime”. Seeing how determined the Budd family were to fall off the twig, this sounded like a rather sensible move.
The second condition, concerning the disposal of ‘Pepper Park’, an estate that Henry had in Berkshire and ‘Twickenham Park’, in St Margarets was more bizarre…
‘In case my son Edward shall wear moustaches, then the devise herein before contained in favour of him, his appointees, heirs, and assigns, of my said estate called ‘Pepper Park’, shall be void; and I devise the same estate to my son William, his appointees, heirs, and assigns. And in case my said son William shall wear moustaches, then the devise hereinbefore contained in favour of him, his appointees, heirs, and assigns of my said estate, called Twickenham Park, shall be void; and I devise the said estate to my said son Edward, his appointees, heirs, and assigns.’ In short… if you want to get your hands on the family fortune you must not grow a moustache.
When the Will came into operation after Henry’s death in 1862 the “Pepper Park” estate in Berkshire had already been disposed of - not that it would have mattered. My friend the solicitor reckons that Henry’s Will was very poorly drafted and was probably invalid anyway. Moustache or not William Budd did take possession of Twickenham Park and died there in 1888.
It seems that there isn’t a specific term to describe a moustache phobia - although there are plenty of words describing other hirsute fears. You can choose between Chaetophobia, Trichopathophobia, Trichophobia, or Hypertrichophobia which are all are associated with a fear of hair or Pogonophobia which relates directly to a fear of beards….but whatever it was that upset Henry Budd he wasn’t the only person to suffer from it…
- A Will prepared in 1869 for Mr. Fleming, an upholsterer of Pimlico, left £10 each to those of the men in his employ who did not wear moustaches. Those who persisted in wearing them to have only £5 each.
- In 1904, Regent Street drapers in London stopped employing assistants who wore moustaches (or parted their hair in the middle).
- The Bank of England, always scrupulously fair and not wishing to interfere in the private lives of their staff, merely ruled that moustaches were forbidden ‘during working hours’.
- On Sept. 21st 1837 a young carpenter employed by the London and Birmingham Railroad applied to Mr Rawlinson, the local magistrate, for a warrant against his workmates who were mocking him because of his moustache… Having studied the few and rather feeble hairs sprouting on the young carpenter’s upper lip Mr Rawlinson, the magistrate, denied him his warrant. “They’re just young ‘uns!” said the carpenter in defence of his listless ‘tache.
The public attitude to beards and moustaches changed when the Crimean War started in 1853. Because of the terrible weather our soldiers were permitted to grow beards and moustaches as protection from the cold. Taking up the trichogenous trend was Mr George Frederick Muntz, a Member of Parliament for Birmingham. He was a notable figure in the House of Commons, described by some as an ‘egotistical aristocrat’. A large man with a handsome face, a huge black beard, and moustache it is said that he “carried a thick malacca cane… to answer any insults he encountered on the streets because a beard stamped a gentleman ‘as either a crank or an artist.” He died 30th July, 1857, and is regarded by some as the father of the Modern Moustache Movement.
Sir Richard Burton
In the latter years of Victoria’s reign beards and moustaches came to be regarded as a ‘must-have’ symbol of courage, determination and intelligence. They were proudly sported by such notables as Sir Richard Burton, the explorer, General Gordon, the ‘hero of Khartoum’ and writer Charles Dickens who favoured the wispy variety.
Unfortunately the ‘Modern Moustache Movement’ never reached Henry Budd. He went to his grave in the family vault banning his heirs from having any hair. The only reminder that we have of him now is ‘Budd’s Alley’, the narrow lane that runs by the railway from Arlington Close to Ducks Walk. I nearly got knocked over down there by a cyclist on a mountain bike. It was a close shave.
– from Martyn Day