This morning, a bit of history: the Post Office London Directory in two volumes, 1939, discovered at the New York Public Library. (Sorry for the graininess but let’s just say this was an accidental find — the camera phone was the only option.)
Note the advertisement around the edges: We Destroy Rats, Mice, Beetles, Moths, etc. on one side, a prominent picture of a bed bug on others.
The 1939 Post Office London Directory (apparently published by Kelly’s) in two volumes was the 1939 London “phone book.” It tells us a few things:
- Bed bugs were big business: the company that could afford the most prominent advertising in London was a Bayswater (W1) pest control company.
- Bed bugs were a big problem in 1939: the only picture included in the ad is a really big bed bug. Not a mouse, a rat, a beetle, a moth: the ad is primarily about bed bugs.
- This also tells us that: bed bugs were visually recognizable to all.
1939 was, of course, before DDT.