Written By: Eliza Berman

Since the early-2000s establishment of Movember—an annual fundraising competition to raise money for men’s health issues—November has come to be associated with the sprouting of mustaches where once there were none.

But for serious growers of facial hair, October is the month that matters. At the annual World Beard and Moustache Championships, cancelled this year due to Covid, slender Dali’s compete with bushy Imperials for the title of greatest ‘stache.

In celebration of these feats of facial hair, LIFE revisits the London Handlebar Club, which in the 1940s offered a safe space for those who sported exuberant whiskers. At meetings, members shared tips for preventing an upsweep (clip-on weights!) and dealing with a mustache misshapen from sleep (sleep on your back, not your face). One particularly troublesome ailment was the “Boozer’s Droop,” a side effect of “too much immersion in alcohol during the mustache’s early development.” The cure? “Stop drinking. Short of that, shave.”

Liz Ronk edited this gallery.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Member of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Member of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Members of the London Handlebar Club, 1947.

Nat Farbman / The LIFE Picture Collection (c) Meredith Corporation

More Like This

lifestyle

Training with “The World’s First Paleo CrossFitting Locavore”

lifestyle

When Scooters Became the Cool Way to Go

lifestyle

Home on the Range: The Sweet Spot of Prairie Living

lifestyle

The Changing Roles of Women: A Photographer Picks Her Favorite Images

lifestyle

Photographs on Fabrics: What a Dreamy Invention!

lifestyle

Easter Fashion Fun: Making Clothes For the Whole Giant Family