Books by Glenda Young

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pantechnicon

I was once much impressed by a woman who dropped the word pantechnicon into conversation, without any irony too.

And for years I thought pantechnicon meant a large removal lorry, which of course it does. But this weekend I saw the original pantechnicon. It's a building in Belgravia (one of the poshest bits of London) that is called The Pantechnicon and was built for posh people to store their posh things in, hundreds of posh years ago (*).

The lorries which carried the goods into and out of storage from the building became known as pantechnicons. I know, great eh? Anyway, that was one of the many highlights on the Upstairs Downstairs walk of Belgravia I did this weekend with The Women's Libary in London. So as well as getting to walk around a posh bit of London I'd never normally visit, I learned one heck of a lot.

(*) The building now houses a posh people's bank and a Starbucks. Boo, hiss.

5 comments:

Tvor said...

Oooh do they do that walk regularly? I loved that series!

Flaming Nora said...

The walk was all about people in service in the olden days who worked in the really big, posh houses of Belgravia, so not about Upstairs Downstairs the telly programme although it did get a quick mention. It was a terrific walk though!

KAZ said...

Wow Norah - you learn a lot round here.
My mum used to say pantechnicon where anyone else would say 'lorry' and atmospherics where we would say 'thunder'.
That's why I grew up so tremendously posh.

Steve said...

If I were to drop such a word into conversation I can bet you a pound to a penny that people will assume I have said "pant technician". They will, honest.

Flaming Nora said...

I came from the sort of background that called a spade a spade and never a lorry a pantechnicon. I never even heard the word until I became a matchure schtudent.

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