There is something so luxurious about snuggling into bed on a winters eve with a good book. A few weeks ago (when we lived in a world with Borders and Angus & Robertson) I was lucky enough to snag a discounted copy of the giant Encyclopedia of Melbourne. This book is massive both in size and content and I just keep marveling at the wondrous and bizarre history of our pretty city.
So I am wondering if the title to this one drew you in and you are now sitting/standing/lying there thinking when is she going to say if I’m a block tart and what is one anyway??
Well I confess, I am a Block Tart and ‘do the block’ on a regular basis…but before you laugh….you may be one too!
‘Doing the Block’ relates to walking the section of Collins Street between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets and the term was coined between the 1860s and the 1930s. The section, or the ‘block’ was considered Melbourne’s most fashionable promenade where Melbourne Society used to stroll in certain hours (Weekdays 3:30 – 5:30 and weekends 11am to 2pm). Don’t you just love the idea? Melbournian’s dressed to the nines strolling up and down as though on parade choosing to nod only to the very best of acquaintances. I have often imagined just such scenes.
I have taken the following from the online Encyclopedia of Melbourne where the full article exists – so those of you jealous about my book can at least read the contents online;
‘To the great majority’, the Argus observed in 1919, ‘the Block is a kind of vast, open-air club with unlimited membership. It is a promenade without a band, a carnival without confetti, a Rotten Row without the horses.’
I love it – I may need to go find my vintage etiquette books so I can stroll the block dropping into Tiffany & Co, browsing the windows of the Block Arcade and sipping a hot chocolate from Lindt. Perhaps we shall pass and with true grace and elegance nod at each other from a distance. But only between 11am and 2pm on the weekend…