A Very Victorian Hangover

The term “hangover” is universally understood to mean the disproportionate suffering that comes after a night of alcoholic over-indulgence. Strangely, the term comes from Victorian England. During the Victorian era, the practice of paying for a “two-penny hangover” was so commonly used that it made its way into contemporary literature. It literally meant that if you were homeless you could pay two pence (about 3¢) to hang over a rope, or 5 pence (about 7¢) to lie down. If you fell asleep, the rope would prevent you from slipping onto the floor or head-butting the bench in front of you. It still wouldn’t have been an overly relaxing experience though. People were crammed in as tightly as possible, and to make sure you got your money’s worth but no more, the rope would be unceremoniously cut the next morning between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Once the rope was cut, the homeless would be kicked out onto the streets once more.