Green’s Dictionary of Slang

start n.1

[SE start, a shock]

an odd circumstance, a surprise; often as rum or rummy start.

[UK] ‘Moses Samuels And The Nasty Little Vomans’ in Secret Songster 12: Oh, dear, dis was a pretty start, ve couldn’t valk at all.
[UK]Comic Almanack May 137: Crikey! here’s a pretty start!
[UK]Dickens Bleak House (1991) 105: Being asked what he thinks of the proceedings, [Little Swills] characterises them (his strength lying in a slangular direction) as ‘a rummy start’.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 227: START, a proceeding of any kind; a ‘rum start,’ an odd circumstance.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]J. Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 143: One of them remarked that of all the queer starts he’d ’eard tell of, that was the queerest.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Marvel III:53 11: Well, this is a rummy start!