London opinion

Found object
London Opinion, c. 1915
Leather-bound account book
19.5cm x 12.5cm
Museum no: I.015

London Opinion is a collection of meticulously cut out excerpts from newspapers and presented in notebook form. It appears to be the work of a young man only known as HGB and is dated September 1915.

A newspaper extract indicates that HGB is one of nearly 3,000 young men who enlisted in the Surrey Yeomanry, waiting to be deployed to Gallipoli. In the back of the journal, there are beautifully ordered drawings of electrical circuit boards, which conflict with the bewildered, and at times cruel, opinions held towards women displayed at the beginning of the book.

Such extracts as ‘women worshipped brute force; ‘I would have thought that they kept their hair long especially to be dragged about by it’ can be found contrasted by the whimsical notions of ‘being unable to forget your first love’ and ‘what do women desire?’.

Even though these are not HGB’s direct musings, they are ones he has chosen to collect, as he recognises his struggle within them. The book gives a snapshot of a young man at the close of the Edwardian era, about to go to war, possibly still a virgin, wanting romance and sexual encounter but in fear of rejection.

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