Okay, here’s another one from The Ashton Standard (Saturday, August 6 1859). It’s an advert:
TO BE LET, the House next door to Mrs JOHN LEES, in the Market-place, to whom application may be made.
My good friend James Frost thinks that this would make the basis of a good Little Britain sketch. Something along these lines, he thought:
“In Britain, people can buy houses, or they can rent them. I had a house once. It burnt down when I left my slippers in the toaster for too long.
Mr Man is visiting an estate agent, looking for a house.
MR MAN: Hello.
ROY: Hello. Erm, we were just closing, I’m afraid.
MR MAN: I won’t be long. I am looking for a house.
ROY: Was there a particular type of house you were looking for?
MR MAN: Yes.
MR MAN: I would like a house next door to a Mrs John Lees, in a market place.
ROY: *very briefly glances round, then shrugs* I can’t see anything here. One moment, Margaret’ll know. MARGARET! MARGARET!
ROY: DO WE HAVE ANY HOUSES NEXT DOOR TO A MRS JOHN LEES?
MR MAN: In a market place.
ROY: IN A MARKET PLACE?
MARGARET: I think we do, yes. It’s in Ashton!
ROY: *finds house information straight away* Oh, yes! Here we are! A house next door to a Mrs John Lees, and – oh, how funny – it’s in a market place.
MR MAN: May I have a look?
ROY: Yes, here you go.
MR MAN: Do you have anything bigger?
ROY: I don’t think we do, no. Do you have a large family?
MR MAN: No, they are all dead.”