Movember…over 100 years ago

Sadly no one in the Heritage Team can grow a moustache, although many of our colleagues in Brent Council have been growing their facial hair in the month of November to raise money for charity.

Movember seems to have begun in Australia in the 1990s and has raised £346 million to date and funded over 800 programmes in 21 countries. There focus is to raise money to save and improve the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.

So what has this got to do with the Museum and Archives? Well, we were all very sad that we could not take part in Movember but decided to go on a hunt through the collections to find some excellent images of moustached gentlemen to share on the blog.


We felt this image was the best as every single one of these gentlemen has a moustache with some sporting full beards. Dated to December 1894 it shows the members of the Willesden Local Board. This image also shows us that at this time it seems the norm and perhaps even fashionable for men to have beards and moustaches.

In 1874 Willesden became an urban sanitary district covering South Kilburn, North Kilburn, East Willesden and West Willesden. The board appointed a clerk, a surveyor, a medical officer of health, and a sanitary inspector. Their work increased as building in the area boomed. In 1887 they were allowed to appoint more inspectors which were paid for by the builders themselves. By the time this image was taken their meetings were held at Dyne Road. The board were responsible for building streets and a sewage farm as well as taking control of the local fire brigade.

You may notice in the top right hand corner a photograph of Charles Pinkham who was a local developer and sat on the board from 1888. He was chairman of the Council five times and M.P for West Willesden from 1919-22. He is one of the lives we are featuring at the moment in our temporary exhibition space at the Brent Civic Centre. The exhibition looks at the First World War experiences of five individuals from Brent and is called Brent Remembers: Five Lives.

We feel that if we were to give an award for the best moustach in this images it would be to Mr Richards.



Information gained from: ‘Willesden: Local government’, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden (1982), pp. 228-232. URL: Date accessed: 28 November 2014.