No Nose Clubs
Worn by a mid-19th century women who lost her nose to syphilis, an STI which can cause the bridge of the nose to collapse, the above contraption is testament to an era when sexual promiscuity was far more abundant than the Victorians would have liked us to believe.
In fact, so common was it to encounter a noseless fellow that people began to form clubs, as The Star reported in a February 1874 article entitled “The Origins of the No Nose Cub”:
Miss Sanborn tells us that an eccentric gentleman, having taken a fancy to seeing a large party of noseless persons, invited every one thus afflicted, whom he met in the streets, to dine on a certain day at a tavern, where he formed them into a brotherhood … This club met every month for a whole joyous year, when its founder died, and the flat-faced community were unhappily dissolved.
It is questionable whether Miss Sanborn’s account is entirely true, although a version with little variation also exists in A Compleat and Humorous Account of all the Remarkable Clubs and Societies in the Cities of London and Westminster (1756) by Edward Ward. Whatever their veracity, however, there seems to be little doubt that these clubs existed as places where those who had “unluckily fallen into the Egyptian fashion of flat faces” might “show their scandalous Vizards” without fear of mockery.
[Sources: Prospect Magazine | The Telegraph | Papers Past | Science Museum | Edward Ward]