Ladies' Ankles on the Kingstown (Railway) Line

From The Irish Fireside, Volume 1, Number 1, July 2, 1883.

I would draw attention to the execrable structure--ostentatiously termed bridges -which the Kingstown Railway Company has erected at every station along the line, with the cheery request printed in glaring letters, 'Do not cross the line. "You are requested to pass over the bridge.' What, it may be asked, is the `bridge?' Well, it can be thus described--You ascend a long flight of iron steps, always dirty; pass along an openwork structure of uncomfortable length, and decend another long array of unclean steps to the other side of the platform. As the whole of this unique structure is of iron trellis-work of very airy design, the pleasures enjoyed by ladies while crossing it may be imagined, though not described. I can only say--and this is a delicate way of putting a subject on which I feel very strongly--that none of the golden youth of Dublin need trouble themselves to look through the columns of the fashion papers to ascertain how ladies' underclothing is made and put on; they have only to smoke their cigars, as they frequently do, on either of the platforms at, say, Blackrock Station, and the information gathered will be of a most practical kind; especially if a windy day be selected to favour their observations! It is to me perfectly incomprehensible how the matter has not long ago been publicly taken up and discussed, and I can only believe that the neglect of it has been mainly owing to that most objectionable cry, `Where is the use?' There is every use in agitating about matters which stand so glaringly in need of reform. The Premier desired the Irish people to agitate whenever they wanted anything, and--they took him at his word! I hope the people resident along the line of railway of which I have been speaking will take me at mine, and agitate to some useful purpose. I am myself acquainted with persons residing in the vicinity of Blackrock ever since the trains first ran there, who are ready to affirm that no accident ever at any time occurred through the old and most sensible system, which was pursued without casualty for so great a number of years; but when the intelligent railway company saw, or thought they saw, necessity for erecting safety-bridges, why did they not look to the preservation of the morals as well as the lives of intending passengers, and secure immunity from certain observation as well as from imaginary danger of death? There is not a mart in Dublin where there are stairs to be traversed in order to reach mantle, millinery, or other departments, in which the executive have not considered and provided for the comfort of ladies ascending such stairways, by arranging a hanging of blue, red, or purple calico, to serve as a fitting screen from balustrade to steps; yet, in such places, there is no wind, no gathering together of prying 'mashers' and spiteful friends of one's own sex, but, on the contrary, everybody is attending to his or her own business, and shopmen are too much engaged in serving customers to indulge in con-templation of feminine lingerie. I am not in any way surprised that many ladies have resolved to travel no more by rail on the Rock line until a suitable bridge be erected, or the old system, one which answered admirably, be returned to. As things at present are, a lady must, if the day be wet, either suffer her garments to trail after her down any number of dripping and dirty steps, or make such an expose as would be repugnant to the feelings of any modest woman. I have, therefore, taken this opportunity of speaking at length upon a subject to which I have long desired to attract attention, and have selected the present as the most fitting time for doing so.--Lady's Pictorial.