Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Barber’s Pole.

 Barber Poet.Barbican (The) or Barbacan. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Barber’s Pole.
The gilt knob at the end represents a brass basin, which is sometimes actually suspended on the pole. The basin has a notch cut in it to fit the throat, and was used for lathering customers who came to be shaved. The pole represents the staff held by persons in venesection; and the two spiral ribbons painted round it represent the two bandages, one for twisting round the arm previous to blood-letting, and the other for binding. Barbers used to be the surgeons, but have fallen from “their high estate” since science has made its voice “to be heard on high.”   1
   N.B.—The Barbers’ Hall stood in Monkwell Street, Cripplegate. The last barber-surgeon in London was Middleditch, of Great Suffolk Street, in the Borough. He died 1821.   2
        “To this year” (1541), says Wornum … “belongs the Barber-Surgeons’ picture of Henry (VIII.) granting a charter to the Corporation. The barbers and surgeons of London, originally constituting one company, had been separated, but were again, in the 32 Henry VIII., combined into a single society, and it was the ceremony of presenting them with a new charter which is commemorated by Holbein’s picture, now in their hall in Monkwell Street.”

 Barber Poet.Barbican (The) or Barbacan. 


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