In an odd twist of fate, the days of 2014 almost match the days of 1914, and exactly 100 years ago this Saturday (Sunday in 1914), the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in Sarajevo set the world ablaze. Or, in the immortal words of British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey–“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” But let’s backtrack to the week of the assassination, when the London Season remained in full swing. Like now, society had just attended Ascot Week, the “most fashionable race-meeting in the world,” as The Sketch duly noted in its weekly issue (which hit newsstands Wednesday, June 24). The cover of this issue featured a cheeky illustration about The Midnight Cocktail made special for the Midnight Ball held at the Savoy on June 25 to benefit the National Institute for the Blind: 1/3 French Vermouth, 1/3 Italian Vermouth, 1/3 Gin, add a few drops of Orange juice and one spot of Absinthe.

Ascot - June 1914

Here are some strange fashions on display at the races!

Ascot fashions - June 1914

In threatres at the time were Pygmalion, at His Majesty’s Theatre (owned by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree–who was Henry Higgins), starring Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. The listing says Every Evening at 8:30 punctually. Matinee Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2:30. The Merry-go-Round at the Empire, a popular music hall, shared billing with the newfangled Bioscope motion pictures. At the London Opera House, “Cinemazoo,” a “unique African Hunt and adventure film,” heralded the gradual creep of cinema houses over what were once music halls and opera houses.

Some interesting ads

Burberry overcoats

Colgate shaving stick

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