Thomas Bowler

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Alderman Thomas Bowler (1822-1906). Pro Bono Publico, or at least, that's what it says in verdigrised bronze letters over his mausoleum door. There is also a stone carving showing this dignitary of Blackbury's local political scene scowling thoughtfully into the middle distance, as if he is trying to work out, from a distance of ninety years' afterlife, whether the publico appreciated all the work he did for them on a pro bono basis.

Johnny Maxwell was dared to knock on the mausoleum door just before Hallowe'en to ask what pro bono publico meant. He was even more surprised to get an answer. But then, this sort of thing is always happening to Johnny. He wishes it wouldn't, but it does.

Tom Bowler, at first glance, is a sort of pompous Victorian spectre, but many of the attitudes he held in life have been softened, even challenged, by the society of ghosts from later, more liberal, periods. In fact, (as popular culture in the late twentieth century expects this of the Dead) he learns to do a pretty mean Moonwalk...

In life, his greatest gift to the town of Blackbury was the Thomas Bowler Memorial Horse Trough. For some years he had been agitating for proper service facilities for visiting horses, arguing that the wheels of Commerce would be oiled if draymen and carters had somewhere to water their horses whilst delivering and picking up. The Horse Trough was unveiled in 1905 to great public acclaim.

The very next day, the first motor car ever to visit Blackbury crashed into it...

The Horse Trough still exists, adapted into an ornamental planter for the tasteful display of dead flowers, lager cans, and the common crisp packet.

The Alderman's name would appear to be yet another pune or play on words. A tombola is a raffle or lucky draw in which numbers are chosen from a rotating drum, and by extension, the drum itself. Local fetes and suchlike in England often have a local VIP to pick the numbers for a prize draw. We may assume that, in the past, prize winning numbers at the Blackbury Bazaar were picked from a tombola by Tom Bowler.

(Book:Johnny and the Dead)