1909: Granny prefers smoking a pipe to tea


The heart’s desire of the old lady of eighty-five, ‘Granny’ Shepherd, who is an inmate of Cuckfield workhouse (England), has been satisfied (says 'Lloyd’s Weekly News'). The Local Government Board has made a special dispensation by which she is allowed to have tobacco instead of the ordinary tea ration.

She has smoked from girlhood, and declares that it is only her pipe which makes life worth living. Daily she takes her constitutional in the extensive grounds of the workhouse for the purpose of having her pipe. She prefers to go unaccompanied so that she can enjoy it the more.


The old lady is brown as a berry, and, said the workhouse master, ‘as tough as nails’. The master added that he has no healthier inmate in the house, and he should not be surprised it she lived to be a hundred.


The other women inmates regard ‘granny’ with some misgiving, but the old lady says she does not care what they say because she is deaf. Having led an active life outside the house, she refuses to sit idle now, and the Brabazon committee have no more zealous worker than ‘Granny’ Shepherd, whose chief delight apart from smoking is making cabbage nets.

Source Crookwell Gazette (New South Wales), 12 Mar 1909, Page 3.


Painting: 'An elderly women smoke a pipe'. Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 13 May 2003. Abraham van Dijck 1635-1672. Wikimedia public domain image.


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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