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 The Scent That Captures That "1930s Moment"!

All material copyrighted to © 2014

or to the various credited sources © 2014



Later, Violet became the colour of the Women’s Suffrage

Movement (purple and green of the suffragettes' ribbons,

Petals for petticoated Pankhursts and Bluestockings);

Red-violet on the Susan B. Anthony stamp of 1936;

And sometime later harvested for its aromatic tricksiness

In fields outside red-earthed Dawlish, the cliffy coastal town

In Devon, transformed into its own cottage industry by

The Thirties, liquidating, distilling and bottling its capricious

Scents and perfumes in hand-painted Devonian pottery…

Well, actually, even the history of this illusive scent is misted

In mystique, in terms of tracing precisely where in Devon

Its’ true source –olfactory fount, wellsprings of elixir,

The Violet Seam, the sought-after Source of the Style–

Originates… Some sources moot a FLAROMA DEVON

VIOLETS (note the ‘s’) perfume patented by BATHES

Of Torquay… So which was it, Dawlish or Torquay? Many

Latter day pilgrims have tried to discover DEVON VIOLET’s

Unexcavated reliquary, but it’s not yet been located

Unequivocally; is supposed to be buried somewhere between

Dawlish and Torquay –some Violetites or Violetians–

The self-coined sobriquets for followers of the Violet Religion,

Or the Olfactory Reform Church of Devon Violet, even speak

In occulting Tongues of a Lourdes-like quality to the violet

Waters lapping in some obscure grotto grown out from an estuary

Near Dawlish; though scholars of Violetology dispute this

As occulting obfuscation, mystification, superstition, and

Take a more Rationalist perspective; speak of freshwater

Placebos, phantosmatic fillips of natural springs, that Devon’s

Violet waters contain no miracle cures, just analgesics,

Quinine, only projected restoratives for curable symptoms

Responsive to natural healing energies –though none of these

Scientific findings prevent Violetites performing baptisms

In Dawlish waters)… But later still, the scent was streamlined

As DEVONSHIRE VIOLETS –some sort of consonantal shift,

And nasal drift, according to the orthodox theories

Of Osmagology –a popular brand, processed and marketed

By the Abietsan Manufacturing Company Ltd., from its’

Concordia Works, Carmichael Road, South Norwood, London

(Not so exotic-sounding as other mythologised sources

Formerly cited!)… So it seems, this scent migrated from

Never-Never-Devonshire to the factories of The Smoke;

Abietsan started out as soap-makers in the Twenties,

But then branched out into bath salts, balms and perfumes –

And their toilet water made a particular splash in the Thirties…




O DEVON VIOLET, that charming bucolic moschate scent

Masking the hircine rankness of greasy slept-in rags clung

With sweat and tobacco, robes of the winos, Dionysian

Addicts shaking and trembling in dithyrambs of babble,

The humming under-smells gathering around foodbanks

And wheelie bins –but no matter about all that –what everyone

Is talking about is the new extravagant Vermont of cosmetics,

Affectionately nicknamed Austérité L’Anglaise, perfume

Of deflating deficit, the greatest gift to advertisements since…

Well, it’s difficult to remember anything as commercially

Potent after the chronic fogs of that malodorous nose-powder,

Winter of Discontent, and its gauche unguent companion-piece,

Scent of Shop Steward (produced by Union Ltd.), or

The fetid Sick Man of Europe, which, together, and along with

Brylcreem, greased green benches back then, in the vegetative

Seventies, coating everything in a dull industrial smell,

Superseded by the artificial spray all Lefties and Longhairs

Wanted to repel, especially shop stewards: No Such Thing

As Society, pungent Thatcherite fragrance of flirtatious

And fancy-free markets, synthetic perfume of privatisation…


I sit me by the bank, until

The violets come again.


                                                                                                           [Richard Garnett, ‘Violets’]





Privatise the DEVON VIOLET way! No other scent pays

Such dividends as DEVON VIOLET Roses? Forget them:

They’re so Yesterday, resembling old haggard red banners!

Tulips? Schmulips! Jonquils? Too particular, too classical!

Poppies? Too bloody, too morbid and prone to special-bleeding!

Violets? Hold on for a second! Vi-o-lets –now we’re talking:

Purple-blue petals with a dash of sharp yellow in their middles –

You keep all the other petals, Violets are the blooms that mean

Business! And their fumes and fragrances are second to none:

Flirtatious, unpredictable, almost imperceptible but there all

The same –perfect musk for femme fatales, in bottles or sprays –

DEVON VIOLET’s the choicest scent for COMPETITIVENESS,

For those who like to outsource and sub-contract those mouldy

Old public services to the highest bidders in the private sector;

It’s the most competitive perfume, drowses us into becoming

Customers and consumers, no more patients and service-users,

It emancipates the entrepreneurial spirit, frees us into whole

Menus of choices –choose DEVON VIOLET today!

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