The Dangers of Orange Peels

Broken limbs! Amputations! Death! Shame!

Have you heard the news? Reprehensible practices involving orange peels have spread through British society, causing violence, injury, and ruined theatre outings everywhere you look. Join us as we travel back to the 18th and 19th centuries, documenting the truth about these harmful peels.

Take for your proof this statement from The Morning Post, London on April 19, 1821: “Not a day passes that various falls and accidents do not occur from the reprehensible practice of throwing orange upon the foot pavement.”

Who are we to argue with that?

Throwing At The Theaters

October 15, 1823, The Morning Post

Throughout the twenties there have been many who tried to curtail the offence of throwing orange peels and garbage onto the audience of a stage production. Of course those under attack are the wealthy patrons of the theater who’s fancy hats and smug faces make for easy targets.

January 7, 1825, The Morning Post

Just over two years after a letter was written to the Morning Post to comment on the disastrous orange peel affliction and suggest a possible solution, another was written making similar comments and suggesting the same solution. One has to wonder if this was the same person on a long quest. Alas despite their continued campaign of letters to the editor every two or three years there are further accounts of the orange peel dangers at theaters. We recommend always bringing a thick hat or helmet as a wealthy patron and a good pound of peels as a lower class gallery member.

A-peel to the Careless

Once again, we have found proof of the dreadful crime and ever-present danger of orange peels in the streets. In reading this poem, aptly name “A-peel to the Careless,” we see the true problem of these items brought to life in vivid detail.

Fun (London) Aug 1, 1874

“Fun”: London, August 1, 1874

The painful prose of this piece paints the picture of a normal day gone terribly wrong because of the actions of “lads” who, taking advantage of the cheap cost of oranges and their idle time, cause the grave injury of three upstanding members of society. We learn that, when orange peels are haphazardly strew in such a way, “surgeons must work, and patients must slip” and, in addition “women must weep.”

The many accidents and deaths caused by orange peels seem somewhat inevitable if behaviours such as this are to continue. Despite the hopelessness and distress this poem conjures in the soul, it can be hoped that an end is in sight to this epidemic if enough awareness is raised about the consequences of careless actions!

Peels On The Parapets!

June 14. 1833 Liverpool Mercury

“Accident from treading on Orange Peel. – We have to mention another accident from the very reprehensible practice of throwing oranges upon the parapet. A few day ago Mr. Calvert, drawing master at the mechanics institution, Manchester, was walking along the streets of that town, he trod upon a piece of orange peel, slipped, fell, and dislocated his arm.”

“Another victim to the orange peel. – we have just heard that a person named Saul… had his leg amputated in consequence of slipping over a piece of orange peel on the flagged parapet.”

Above is a classic example of the dangers inherent in the consumption of Oranges. I once knew a girl who would eat the peel as well as the orange, she was truly concerned with public safety!

These terrible tales of Mr. Calvert’s dislocated arm and Saul’s lost leg are only the branches of a much larger issue! The root of the problem is those who would leave our roads to rot with peels rather than carry these dangerous items home with them. How many will be injured or die before this is dealt with? Who will stop the littering of hazardous materials onto our streets, and especially our parapets? Who indeed!