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Spitting Image

Posted by David Sturdy on September 30, 2002

To my knowledge, from about 1944/5 to appx mid 50's the expression used in East-London was Split Image. Approximately 1944/5 an old man said that I was the Split Image of my brother. Asked to explain, he hammered a large pebble in two and showed us the 'grain' or patterns of the two newly exposed surfaces, which of course were mirror images of each other. He explained that these were Split Images.
Approx. mid 1950's I started to hear folk say 'Spit Image' which used to annoy me a little. Eventually, I can't put a guess to the year, I heard people saying 'Spitting Image'.
The old man seemed at least 70yrs old (in 1944) and, assuming he had been saying 'Split Image' for the previous 50 or 60 years, that puts this reference back to approx. 1884/1894.
The 'Old Man' event is one of my nostalgic memories - he was a night watchman, complete with hut and coke brazier , guarding a site where a flying bomb had landed.
Perhaps there are some East-London Oldtimers out there who can remember the expresson 'Split Image.