*Very* Cheap Lodgings

I once read in that in merrie olde England (I believe it was England), if one could not afford a bed for the night one could get a room in which a rope was strung from one side to the other, pay a pittance, and drape oneself over the rope for the night. Can any of you remember the name for this appalling practice?


PS: Man, what a morning after, huh? :smiley:

I apologize for the unfortunate wording of the previous post. I did not mean to imply that any of you were that that old or that you had engaged in the practice. Or worse, that I had!



I can’t even think as to how you would use a rope to sleep w/o cutting circulation to you arms. Also why not just use the floor in that room unless it’s too crowded.


IIRC, the owner of the “establishment” was able to fit more people onto the rope “standing up” than if they just laid on the floor. (I imagine the floor cost a bit more).
Dare I hope that this will be one for the famed Cecil to answer?


If I am violating a rule, please let me know, but I think there is an answer to this somewhere, so I’d like to “bump” it in the hopes that someone with that answer might see my post.



Maybe you title is not leading enough people to your thread - at least people who know the answer or can point you to the answer.
If you ask Manhattan nicely enough he might possibly consider changing your title.
If I were asking, I might use something like:
Sleeping on a rope - old English lodging practice?

Maybe more of a hammock than a rope? Never heard of the practice, myself.

They were in the movie The Great Train Robbery, based on Michael Crichton’s novel. They were shown in one brief scene, and Michael commmented on them in the director’s commentary on the dvd. Great Sean Connery movie - I don’t know why it isn’t better known.

Definitely just a bunch of ropes strung at shoulder level - it seems that the poor people in the era were very poor.

Anyone have any idea why they would be called “Penny” Hangs? I didn’t think pennies were ever a part of English currency, but I could be wrong.

A search of the web returns a lot of links about someone named Penny who is hanging things and this review of the movie.

I found this so bizzarre I had to search. I came up with exacly one reference.

A further search for “rope houses” shows the common usage of the term was the building used for manufacturing cables which were long buildings with the ropes strung their length for manufacture. As these would have been present in any reasonable sized port city (like the above 1880 description) I have to wonder if it wasn’t the owner of such making a few extra bucks on cold nights.

“Penny Hangs” sounds right, padabe, thanks!

Dave, thanks for the suggestion, yours would have made a better title for the thread, that’s for sure. Shows I need to give a little more thought to this before I click.

Tnanks to all who responded!