Bragg, class, Hulme, urination

Melvyn Bragg’s TV series about class continues on its confused way. His big mistake is talking as though there were only three classes. In the first programme, there was a sentence like: ‘Arnold Bennett and John Galsworthy continued to write about the middle class.’ Not enturely untrue, but far from helpful. What do Soames Forsyte and Denry Machin actually have in common? They are both neither at the very top or the very bottom of the social ladder, but that’s about it.

Personally, if I were writing about class, I couldn’t do it without this anecdote about T.E.Hulme (It is from Christopher Hassall’s biography of Edward Marsh, and happened a few years before the War):

Hulme was making water  in Soho Square in broad daylight when a policeman came up. ‘You can’t do that here.’ Hulme – ‘Do you realise you are addressing a member of the middle class?  at which the policeman murmured, ‘Beg pardon, sir’, and went on his beat.



  1. Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    A great quotation. Of course, no member of the working class would ever be ‘making water’, so Hulme’s breeding should have been obvious.

  2. Ian D.
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    What a great story! Dornford Yate’s characters are either criminals or upper class heroes.

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