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One over the eight

Posted by Marc on May 26, 2006

One over the eight:

I have a coin at home dated 1845. On the front is a picture of Dick Whittington and his cat. Arond the engraving are the words Whittington & Cat Holloway 1845 John Colson. (My family name) On the back is a large figure 8. The story goes that two brothers lived in Holloway, London. One owned the public house and one owned a factory. In the wage packet of the workers in the factory the workers would receive this coin or token which would entitle them to 8 free pints of beer. They had to pay for "one over the eight" hence its association with being drunk.

Validity of this tale? It was passed down to me from my Grand mother and I have no reason to doubt it. I visited the public house in early '90s but no one had heard the story. Hope that helps.