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Ethel Granger

Ethel Granger

Ethel Granger (born April 12, 1905 in Cambridgeshire as Ethel Mary Wilson; † January-March 1982 in Peterborough) was one of the most famous main figures in the development of contemporary piercing and body modification in Europe. As world record holder with the narrowest documented waist size she entered the Guinness World Records in 1939 with a waist circumference of only 13 inches.


"Ethel was a simple, uncultured girl who wore the shapeless dresses of the 1920s".

As a young woman she met the astronomer William Arnold Granger (* July 1, 1904; † March 4, 1974), whom she married in 1928. The marriage produced a daughter, Wilhelmina Granger 1930-2001, and her husband demanded that Ethel Granger wear corsets to give her a narrow waist. She wore these day and night - later also a specially made steel ring - and finally laced her waist to a circumference of 13 inches. [1]

The German women's magazine Sonntagsspiegel der Frau reported on Ethel Granger on June 16, 1967.

"Her measurements are 36/13/38, she wears twelve piercings in each ear, eleven holes run along the edge, and one is placed in the middle.

She also has cheek piercings, both nipples, in each side of her nose there were two piercings in the septum.

Her husband William had stretched one of her septa, and both nipples had shell and lobe piercings.

At first she did not feel comfortable wearing her jewellery and displaying her figure in public, but after the war, with the change in fashion, Ethel and William began to break down barriers.

The septa rings she had worn in the privacy of her home for her husband's pleasure were worn in public and she no longer hid the numerous piercings in her ears with her hair."


In September 2011 the Italian edition of the fashion magazine Vogue dedicated an issue to Ethel Granger.

"It would be inaccurate to see the story of Ethel and William Granger simply as the sadistic desires of a demanding, sexually perverse husband who wanted to make his wife a cripple: they were a couple expressing themselves and embracing a subculture that had magazines like London Life as a point of reference during this period, in the late 20s, 30s and 40s."


  • Guinness World Records 2015 Volume 60 Publisher Guinness World Records 2014, ISBN 1 908 8437 05.

  • Elayne Angel: Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing.

  • Crossing Press 2009, ISBN 1-580-91193-5, p. 13.

  • Valerie Steele: Fetish: fashion, sex and power.

  • Oxford University Press 1997, ISBN 0-195-1157-91.

  • Martin Mobberley: Return to the Far Side of Planet Moore: Rambling Through Observations, Friendships and Antics of Sir Patrick Moore.

  • Springer 2015, ISBN 3-319-157-809, p. 60-62.

  • Meredith G. F. Worthen: Sexual Deviance and Society: A sociological examination.

  • Routledge 2016, ISBN 1-317-5933-75, p. 303.

  • Rossie Atwell: The Grangers of Peterborough - an astronomical family.

  • In: Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 100, No.

  • 5, p. 214-217


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