Indecent Exposure

I found this story in the Illustrated Police News from 31st October, 1896.

“On Wednesday afternoon there was an extraordinary scene in an omnibus near Victoria Station. Some boys representing a school football club in the West Central district had been playing a match at Battersea. They wore their football knickers and stockings, covered in the majority of instances by long overcoats. The eldest boy in the team is 16 years of age, though some of them considerably less.

“On returning to Victoria the bigger boys mounted to the roof of the bus, whilst two or three of the younger ones got inside. When the latter sat down they very naturally opened their overcoats, and about 4in of leg and knee were exposed.

“This was enough for a severe-looking lady seated in the corner of the bus. Screaming loudly she called upon the conductor to put a stop to what she called ‘such a gross and indecent exhibition‘, and at the same time she pointed to the knees of the poor little footballers, who evidently wondered what they had done to excite such a commotion.

“The conductor was a family man with boys of his own. He laughed loudly when the lady explained the situation to him, and stoutly refused to turn the boys out. ‘They hain’t doin’ any harm, ma’am, and I only wish everybody could show such good knees as them.’

“Whether the lady took this to be a personal reflection or not will possibly never be known; but it is certain that she at once alighted from the omnibus, loudly declaring that she would call upon the National Vigilance Society to put a stop to such an exhibition of bare knees.

“If this lady should happen to meet a Highland regiment in ‘full’ dress the result would probably be fatal.”

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