Green’s Dictionary of Slang

alderman n.

[the image of a paunchy, pipe-smoking, wealthy administrator of the City of London]

1. a roast turkey.

[UK]G. Parker Humorous Sketches 31: Tho’ still fond of fun he for humour was ripe, / To grub on my Alderman slang’d every night.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Alderman a Roasted Turkey garnished with Sausages. The latter are supposed to represent the Aldermans Gold Chain.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: alderman. A roasted turkey garnished with sausages; the latter are supposed to represent the gold chain worn by those magistrates.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Life and Trial of James Mackcoull 88: Mackcoull suggested, that they should, in place of an alderman, have a goose and green pease for supper.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 312/1: alderman, dindon rôti, garni de saucisses qui sont censées représenter les anneaux de la chaine d’or que l’alderman porte au cou dans les cérémonies publiques.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.

2. a long smoking pipe; thus broken alderman, a short pipe.

[UK]London Mag. Mar. 98/2: The waiter forthwith made his appearance, with an armful of huge clay pipes [...] called ‘aldermen’ from their exaggerated dimensions.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 61: Where, sir, is the old original alderman pipe, the churchwarden’s pipe, the unadulterated ‘yard of clay.’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 62/2: A large skittle-ball in one hand and a broken alderman (short pipe) in the other. [Ibid.] 107/1: He, a long alderman and a pot of ‘heavy’ were inseparable during the season.
[UK]Belfast News-Letter 11 Apr. 6/5: Long clay pipes have long been known as ‘churchwardens’ [which] also used to be known by the name of ‘alderman’.

3. half-a-crown, 2s 6d (12½p).

[UK]H. Brandon Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 161/1: Alderman – half-a-crown.
[UK]G.M.W. Reynolds Mysteries of London III 66/1: Tim sent the yack to church and christen but the churchman came to it through poll, as Tim’s shaler had slummed on him a sprat and an alderman last week.
[UK]‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Story of a Lancashire Thief 9: There was Downy, a Turkey merchant in a small way, who had such a feeling for tusheroons that he was always changing his tanners and stags, and aldermen, into them.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. 10/2: The Parson is on the highfly [...] He’ll gammon the swells. He touched one for an alderman the first ten minutes.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 4/2: Alderman (Peoples’). Half a dollar = half a crown, which by the way is fivepence more than the American ‘half’.
[UK]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 19 July 2/4: Half-a-crown is known as an ‘alderman’.

4. a paunch; thus aldermanic, portly.

[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 363: We’ll send some people in their places, / With aldermanic guts and faces.
[UK]Van Loan ‘The Indian Sign’ in Collier’s 1 Aug. in Van Loan (2004) 452: Old Pete, rather aldermanic as to paunch, but otherwise fit.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 244: He slapped his guts [...] there was no alderman yet.
[US]J.T. Farrell ‘A Sunday in April’ in To Whom It May Concern 153: Red and his wife walked home, Red walking proudly [...] his alderman sticking out.

5. a large crowbar [on pattern of citizen n. (1); gentleman n.; lord mayor n.1 : smaller and larger versions of the tool].

Diprose’s Boom about London n.p.: Alderman [...] This is a ‘head [chief] bar’ which would open any safe.
[UK]Clarkson & Richardson Police! 268: Another ‘stock-in-trade’ consisted of a key-saw, a chisel [...] a ‘little alderman’ – a jemmy in two parts which can be screwed together – and a number of skeleton keys.
[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 7 Dec. 12/4: ‘Give us the “Alderman” and the “Lord Mayor” (implements for forcing safes)’.
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Banker Tells All 137: ‘We had a bar, my lord,’ he added, again addressing the judge, ‘which we did not use on this occasion, and which we call the alderman.’.

In compounds

alderman double-slang’d (n.) [slang v.2 ]

a roast turkey garlanded with sausages.

[UK]G. Parker Humorous Sketches 31: Nick often eat a roast fowl and sausage with me, which in cant, is called an Alderman, double slang’d.
alderman in chains (n.) [SE chains (of sausages); ‘from the appearance of the City fathers, generally portly – becoming more so when carrying their chains of office over their powerful bust’ (Ware); note Jonson, Masque of the Gipsies (1621): ‘Two roosted Sheriffs came whole to the bord [...] theire Chaines like sausages hung about ’em’]

a turkey garlanded with sausages.

Family Recipt Bk 439/2: Stuffing [the turkey] with sausage meat and serving it up surrounded with links of fried sausages. When dressed in this way, it is often called an alderman in chains; and was, formerly, the favourite mode of dressing a turkey for city feasts.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry II vi: What! de turkey widout de sassinger! him shock – him wouldn’t give pin for turkey widout dem – me like a de Alderman in chain.
[UK]G. Smeeton Doings in London 124: He would have his [...] turkey, which the cadgers called ‘an alderman in chains’.
[UK]T. Hood ‘God and Magog’ Works (1862) II 334: So hungry is my maw, / Give me an Alderman in chains, / And I will eat him raw!
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Morn. Post 9 Dec. 3/4: A turkey hung with sausages is facetiously styled ‘an alderman in chains’.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Times of James Catnach 138: Vat’s dat I hears! No sassingers to de turkey? — de Alderman vidout him chain.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 4/2: Alderman hung in Chains (City). A fat turkey decked with garlands of sausages.
alderman’s pace (n.)

a steady, careful pace, as befits an official with a fine sense of his own importance.

[UK]R. Cotgrave Dict. of Fr. and Eng. Tongues n.p.: Pas d’Abbe alderman’s pace, a leasurely walking, slow gate.
[UK]Gaule Holy Madness 94: What an alderman’s pace he comes [F&H].
q. in Derbyshire Advertiser 27/10/1923 3/2: [O]ur madness to see ourselves thus drenched [...] made us in spite ourselves march an alderman’s pace some seven hours.
[[UK]J. Ray Proverbs 162: He’s paced like an Alderman].
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) I 16: †alderman’s pace. A slow stately pace.