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"Toffs and Toughs" - The famous photo by Jimmy Sime that illustrates the class divide in pre-war Britain. Taken in 1937.

"Toffs and Toughs" is a 1937 photograph of five boys: two dressed in the Harrow School uniform including waistcoat, top hat, boutonnière, and cane; and three nearby wearing the plain clothes of pre-war working class youths. The picture was taken by Jimmy Sime on 9 July 1937 outside the Grace Gates at Lord's Cricket Ground during the Eton v Harrow cricket match. It has been reproduced frequently as an illustration of the British class system.

  • Toffs and Toughs

    The names of the five boys were published in a 1998 article by Geoffrey Levy in the Daily Mail. The Harrovians were Peter Wagner and Thomas "Tim" Dyson, who had arranged to be at Grace Gates at 2 pm, where Wagner's father would pick them up and drive them to Russ Hill, the Wagners’ country home in Surrey, for the weekend. The other three boys were George Salmon, Jack Catlin, and George Young, 13-year-old pupils at the local Church of England primary school. They had visited the dentist that morning and decided to skip school in order to earn money at Lord's by carrying luggage and returning hired cushions for the deposit. The photographer, Jimmy Sime, worked for the Central Press Agency; Sime took several shots of the five boys outside Grace Gates. Ian Jack speculates that Sime solicited the cooperation of the three "toughs", but not that of the two "toffs".

    The boys in later life: Tim Dyson died of diphtheria in August 1938, shortly after travelling to join his parents in Trimulgherry, India. Peter Wagner entered the family stockbroking firm, married, and had three daughters; he became mentally unstable in the 1970s and died in Hellingly Hospital in 1984. George Young and George Salmon were each married when interviewed for the Daily Mail in 1998. Young had a flat in The Barbican. Salmon, who still lived in Marylebone, died in 2000. Jack Catlin's family moved to Rickmansworth soon after 1937; he was widowed, remarried and living in Weymouth in 2010.

 

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