Funny, but technically still "valid" old laws

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Funny, but technically still "valid" old laws

Postby SD » Wed Sep 23, 2009 18:05 UTC

I think most countries still have old legislation yet to be updated or repealed, here goes with some of ours....

In 1965, the United Kingdom began to update its legal system. Over two thousand obsolete, outdated and strange laws have been repealed since then, but plenty of funny laws are still on the books today.

Below are 20 randomly chosen strange U.K. laws.

1. Dying is illegal in the Houses of Parliaments.
A law prohibiting anyone from dying while inside the Houses of Parliament has been voted as the most ridiculous law by the British citizens.

2. Put Stamps properly.
Placing a postage stamp bearing the monarch’s head upside down on an envelope is considered as act of treason.

Also, defacing or destroying anything bearing a likeness of the monarch is illegal. This includes burning paper money or tearing a stamp apart.

3. The Library Offences Act of 1898 makes it illegal to gamble in a library.
The law also prohibits obscene or abusive language. Misbehavior carries a fine of Ј200.

4. No cannons or bear-baiting.
The Metropolitan Police Act of 1839 states that no one, “except persons acting in obedience to lawful authority, may discharge any cannon or other firearm of greater caliber than a common fowling-piece, within 300 yards of any dwelling house, to the annoyance of any inhabitant thereof”.

Under the same Act, those who “keep or use or act in the management of any house, room, pit or other place for the purpose of fighting or baiting lions, bears or other animals” can be fined Ј2,500.

5. Scolding was illegal for almost 400 years.
A law passed in 1585, making it illegal for women to “cause a nuisance with abusive or argumentative language”. A woman guilty of scolding had to wear a scold’s bridle, or metal cage, enclosing her head. The Criminal Law Act of 1967 finally abolished the punishment, and women may now scold freely.

6. Trespassing is illegal, except by huers and baulkers.
An Act of 1603 comes from an ancient custom in Cornwall. People known as “huers and baulkers” would stand on the cliffs and shout to fishing boats, directing them toward schools of fish. The Act gives those on the cliffs the right of entry onto the lands of others, and a defense against trespassing.

7. The Town Police Clauses Act of 1847 threatens a Ј1,000 fine for hanging washing across the street.
Beating or shaking carpets, rugs or mats is also illegal. Doormats may be beaten, but not after eight in the morning.

This Act also outlaws the singing of profane or obscene songs or ballads, wantonly discharging firearms, making bonfires, flying kites, sliding on ice or snow, extinguishing a lamp or willfully and wantonly disturbing residents by ringing their doorbells.

8. It is illegal for two adult men to have sex in the same house as a third person.
Henry VIII outlawed homosexuality in 1533. "Molly houses" began to appear in England in the late 16th century. These brothels offered gay men a place to have sex, and also catered to sado-masochistic and transvestite tastes. Lawmakers saw molly houses as a threat to public morality. Police monitored the houses to entrap male prostitutes, especially during the 1840’s, as Victorian moral standards rose.

9. The Queen’s Corset
From a statute of 1324 called the Prerogativa Regis, any whale or sturgeon found on the United Kingdom coastline, or caught in seas adjoining the coast, must be offered to the Crown.

Traditionally, the head belongs to the King. The tail goes “to furnish the Queen’s wardrobe with whalebone” for her corsets. These days, in practice, the Natural History Museum deals with beached whales.

All wild deer, swans and bears are also the property of the royal family.

10. One may not drive a cow while drunk.
The Licensing Act of 1872 explains that operating a horse, cow or steam engine while intoxicated carries a prison sentence or a Ј200 fine.

11. London hackney carriages must carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats.
The London Hackney Carriage Laws have stayed the same for over a hundred years, and still apply to modern-day taxis. The oats and hay were for the horse, of course. Disputes still arise, and some firms have manufactured tiny bales of hay, so taxi drivers can stay within the law.

In London, it is illegal for a person with the Plague to flag down a taxi. No cab may carry corpses or rabid dogs.

12. Ancient security laws.
A lot of the laws refer to medieval wars such as the conflicts that England had with Scotland or Wales hundreds of years ago, and are to do with the fact that no foreigner during these times was ever seen in the country, so that if one were to be seen then it might mean they were invading. Here are some more bizarre laws:

In York it is perfectly legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow upon seeing one, except for on Sundays. However any Scotsman caught drunk or with a weapon can still be shot on a Sunday, except with a bow and arrow.

Similarly in Chester it is legal to shoot a Welsh person with a crossbow, as long as it is within the city walls and is done after midnight.

In Chester, Welsh people aren’t allowed to enter the city grounds before sunrise and from staying after sunset.

13. Some kind laws towards women.
In London it has been illegal for a man to hit his wife after 9pm. Indeed, wife also needs some time for rest. This law is very humanistic.

By law it is legal for a pregnant woman to relieve herself anywhere she wishes.

14. The eating of Mince pies on Christmas day is illegal.
It was once also illegal to celebrate Christmas altogether because it wasn’t considered puritan enough even though it was a religious celebration.

15. Do not pretend you are older than you are.
It is illegal to impersonate old age pensioners in the London area of Chelsea.

16. Your pet should behave as well.
It is an executable offense to allow your pet to mate with a pet of the royal house without permission.

17. It is illegal to leave your car keys in an unoccupied vehicle.

18. Suicide is a capital crime.

19. It is illegal to either shave, work or to mow your lawn on a Sunday.

20. Tarot card readings and fortune telling are illegal as these are classed as forms of witchcraft.
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Re: Funny, but technically still "valid" old laws

Postby =RS= » Wed Sep 23, 2009 19:03 UTC

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Re: Funny, but technically still "valid" old laws

Postby AG » Thu Sep 24, 2009 07:41 UTC

SD wrote:1. Dying is illegal in the Houses of Parliaments.
A law prohibiting anyone from dying while inside the Houses of Parliament has been voted as the most ridiculous law by the British citizens.

they say that now
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Re: Funny, but technically still "valid" old laws

Postby dyn » Tue Sep 29, 2009 01:17 UTC

They were trying hard, but i wasn't possible to complicate it any further than this...

After the Norman Conquest in 1066, the pound was divided into twenty shillings or 240 pennies. It remained so until decimalization on 15 February 1971.

Old money was divided into:

* pounds (£ or l )
* shillings (s. or /-) and
* pennies (d.)

There were twenty (20) shillings per pound.

The shilling was subdivided into twelve (12) pennies.

The penny was further sub-divided into two halfpennies or four farthings (quarter pennies).

2 farthings = 1 halfpenny
2 halfpence = 1 penny (1d)
3 pence = 1 thruppence (3d)
6 pence = 1 sixpence (a 'tanner') (6d)
12 pence = 1 shilling (a bob) (1s)
2 shillings = 1 florin ( a 'two bob bit') (2s)
2 shillings and 6 pence = 1 half crown (2s 6d)
5 shillings = 1 Crown (5s)

One pound

A £1 coin was called a Sovereign and was made of gold.

A paper pound often was called a 'quid'.

More than a pound (£)

1 guinea and a £5 coin

1 guinea = £1-1s-0d ( £1/1/- ) = one pound and one shilling = 21 shillings
(which is £1.05 in todays money)

1 guinea could be written as '1g' or '1gn'.

A guinea was considered a more gentlemanly amount than £1. You paid tradesmen, such as a carpenter, in pounds but gentlemen, such as an artist, in guineas.

A third of a guinea equalled exactly seven shillings.

Why guinea?

Because the Guinea coast was fabled for its gold, and its name became attached to other things like guinea fowl, and New Guinea.

Less than a pound (£)

Shilling and pennies

Bob" is slang for shilling (which is 5p in todays money)

shilling1 shilling equalled twelve pence (12d).

£1 (one pound) equalled 20 shillings (20s or 20/-)

240 pennies ( 240d ) = £1

There were 240 pennies to a pound because originally 240 silver penny coins weighed 1 pound (1lb).

A sum of £3 12s 6d was normally written as £3-12-6, but a sum of 12s 6d was normally recorded as 12/6.

Amounts less than a pound were also written as:

12/6 meaning 12s-6d

10/- meaning ten shillings.

An amount such as 12/6 would be pronounced 'twelve and six' as a more casual form of 'twelve shillings and sixpence'.
More than a Shilling (s. or /- )

Coins of more than one shilling ( 1/- ) but less than £1 in value were:
a florin (a two shillings or 2 bob or 2 bob bit) 10 x 2/- = £1
a half-crown ( 2/6d) (2 shillings and 6 pence) 8 x 2/6d = £1
a crown (5/-) (five shillings or 5 bob) 4 x 5/- = £1
a half-sovereign (ten shillings or 10 bob) 2 x 10/- = £1
a half-guinea (10/6d) (10 shillings and 6 pence) 2 x 10/6d = £1/1/-

Less than a Shilling (s. or /- )
Other coins of a value less than 1/- were 1/- (shilling) =
a half-groat (2d) 6 x 2d = 1/-
a threepenny bit (threepence) (3d) made of silver 4 x 3d. = 1/-
a groat (4d)
There were four pennies in a groat 3 x 4d = 1/-
sixpence (silver) often called a 'tanner' 2 x 6d = 1/-
penny (copper) often called a 'copper' 12 x 1d = 1/-

The word threepence would often be pronounced as though there was only a single middle "e", therefore "thre-pence". The slang name for the coin was Joey.

Penny coins were referred to as 'coppers'
We also used the words couple of coppers, tanner, bob, half-a-dollar, dollar, quid to mean the value or amount of the money needed, e.g. can you lend me ten bob please? It didn't really matter if in was made up of shillings and pennies, or any other coins.
John Curd
Less than a penny (d)

Pennies were broken down into other coins:
a farthing = ¼ of a penny (1/4d)
a halfpenny (pronounced 'hay-p'ny') = ½ of a penny (1/2d)


Diameter : 20.0 mm ; Weight : 2.8 grams

Half Penny
Diameter : 25.0 mm ; Weight : 5.7 grams
Other names for coins

A shilling was often called a 'bob'.
"It cost me four bob."

Five shilling piece or crown was sometimes called a dollar

sixpence (silver) - often called a 'tanner'

A penny was often called a 'copper' after the metal it was minted from.

Old money conversions to money used today

* Sixpence - 2½p
* One shilling (or 'bob') - 5p
* Half a crown (2 shillings and sixpence) - 12½p
* One guinea - £1.05

If you really must...
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