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#3564 - 06/19/00 11:30 AM first floor  
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Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Bingley  Offline
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Jakarta
My next Barnaby Rudge question is this: Dickens uses first floor to mean what in modern UK usage would be called the ground floor. When did we change? Does the OED, which I don't have access to over here, help?

Bingley


Bingley
#3565 - 06/19/00 07:56 PM Re: first floor  
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jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
Pooh-Bah

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That is very interesting. I've never noticed it before.


#3566 - 06/19/00 08:35 PM Re: first floor  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
Maybe the answer to this will also explain why we are different in the first (ground?) place on this one -- I hope it has nothing to do with 'ground zero'!


#3567 - 06/19/00 11:39 PM Re: first floor  
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lusy Offline
member
lusy  Offline
member

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Melbourne, Australia
>When did we change?

My rather elderly Shorter Oxford gives the following:

First-floor. 1663.
1. The floor next above the ground floor 1865.
2. The ground floor. Now only U.S.

I guess the given dates are relevant, but I'm not quite sure how to interpret them. Presumably 1865 is the first citation regarding the Brits having moved their first floor up one.

lusy


#3568 - 06/19/00 11:43 PM Re: first floor  
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lusy Offline
member
lusy  Offline
member

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Melbourne, Australia
>When did we change?

Oops! Please delete "says" in the above!

Har, har! I already did! 'Cos Jackie told me how thanks Jackie! And I changed this one too, as you can see. But of course you can't now, can you. Good grief, this is as bad as those time travel paradoxes!

lusy

#3569 - 06/20/00 04:38 AM Re: first floor  
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Bingley Offline
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Jakarta
Well, Barnaby Rudge was written in 1841, so 1865 for a first citation would make sense, but surely it didn't happen overnight. There must have been a period of considerable confusion.

Bingley


Bingley
#3570 - 06/20/00 05:56 AM Re: first floor  
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jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
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I suppose it wasn't really an issue until they invented the lift (elevator) - I can imagine someone calling out in frustration, "So what letters do you want me to put on the buttons then!".


#3571 - 06/21/00 07:41 AM Re: first floor  
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wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
old hand

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Switzerland
The change probably happened when the elevator-makers expanded their business from Great Britain to the European Continent. German "Stock" and French "Etage" intrinsically mean a plane above the ground, so "1.Stock" never meant anything else than the first "elevated" floor.


#3572 - 06/21/00 02:15 PM Re: first floor  
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jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
Pooh-Bah

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So it was a early example of British-European convergence. The next big change was probably when we measured the size of the lift buttons in centimetres.



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