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Title: The Cries of London - Exhibiting Several of the Itinerant Traders of Antient and Modern Times
Author: Smith, John Thomas
Language: English
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Printed by J. B. Nichols and Son, 25, Parliament-street.






Printed by J. B. Nichols and Son, 25, Parliament-street.


The present work was some years since prepared for the press by its late
ingenious author, who engraved all the plates for it himself, thirteen of
which are copied from early prints, and the rest sketched from the life.
It will easily be perceived how much superior the latter are to the

the benefit of revision by the late Francis Douce, Esq. F.S.A.

These spirited etchings having become the property of the present Editor,
they are now for the first time submitted to the public; who will, it is
hoped, consider this volume an appropriate companion to Mr. Smith's
"Vagabondiana; or, Anecdotes of Mendicant Wanderers through the Streets of
London," which work was honoured by a masterly Introduction from the pen
of Mr. Douce.

The Editor has taken the liberty, occasionally, to adapt the letter-press
to the present day; but the reader will kindly bear in mind that the work
was written several years since; and that in the interval many changes
have taken place, which it was not thought necessary to point out.


_May_, 1839.



          MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, with a Portrait                       ix

          INTRODUCTION                                                 1


       I. WATCHMAN, from a rare woodcut temp. James I.                13

      II. BELLMAN, from a work entitled "Villanies discovered by
          Lanthorne and Candle Light"                                 14

     III. BILL-MAN, from a print published by Overton, temp.
          Charles II.                                                 16

      IV. WATER-CARRIER, from a print published by Overton            17

       V. CORPSE-BEARER, in the time of a plague at London            20

      VI. HACKNEY-COACHMAN, from a print published by Overton         25

     VII. JAILOR, from a tract, entitled "Essayes and Characters
          of a Prison and Prisoners, by Geffray Mynshul, 1638"        27

    VIII. PRISON BASKET-MAN, from a print published by Overton,
          temp. Charles II.                                           30

      IX. RAT-CATCHER                                                 33

       X. MARKING-STONES, from a rare woodcut, temp. James I.         37

      XI. BUY A BRUSH, OR A TABLE BOOK, from a print published
          by Overton                                                  39

     XII. FIRE-SCREENS, from a print published by Overton             42

    XIII. SAUSAGES, from a print temp. Charles II.                    44


     XIV. NEW ELEGY                                                   47

      XV. ALL IN FULL BLOOM                                           50

     XVI. OLD CHAIRS TO MEND--Portrait of Israel Potter               53

    XVII. THE BASKET OR PRICKLE MAKER                                 55

   XVIII. THE POTTER                                                  58

     XIX. STAFFORDSHIRE WARE                                          61

      XX. HARD METAL SPOONS--Portrait of William Conway               63

     XXI. DANCING DOLLS                                               65

          of Thomas McConwick, the dancing ballad singer              67

          Daniel Clarey                                               69

    XXIV. CHICKWEED--Portrait of George Smith                         73

     XXV. BILBERRIES                                                  75

    XXVI. Three female SIMPLERS                                       77


  XXVIII. SMITHFIELD BARGAINS--Saloop                                 85

    XXIX. SMITHFIELD-PUDDING                                          88

     XXX. THE BLADDER-MAN--Portrait of Bernardo Millano               92

          POSTSCRIPT, by the Editor                                   96

[Illustration: JOHN THOMAS SMITH,

Late Keeper of the Prints in the British Museum.

Author of Nollekens and his Times, Antient Topography, &c. &c.

Engraved by W. Skelton, from an Original Drawing by J. Jackson, Esqr.

Published by J. B. Nichols & Son, May 1st, 1839.]


John Thomas Smith was the son of Nathaniel Smith, sculptor, and afterwards
a well-known printseller, living at Rembrandt's Head, 18 Great
May's-buildings, St. Martin's-lane; and we have his own authority, written
in the album of Mr. Upcott of Upper Street, Islington, for stating, he was
literally "born in a hackney coach, June 23, 1766, on its way from his
uncle's old Ned Tarr, a wealthy glass-grinder, of Great Earl Street, Seven
Dials, to his father's house in Great Portland-street, Oxford Street;
whilst Maddox was balancing a straw at the Little Theatre in the Hay
Market, and Marylebone Gardens re-echoed the melodious notes of the famed
Tommy Lowe."

He was christened John, after his grandfather (a simple Shropshire
clothier, and whose bust was the first model _publicly_ exhibited at
Spring Gardens), and Thomas, after his great uncle Admiral Smith, better
known under the appellation of "Tom of Ten Thousand" (who died in 1762),
and of whom Mr. Smith had a most excellent portrait painted by the
celebrated Richard Wilson, the landscape painter, before that artist
visited Rome, and of which there is a good engraving by Faber. The
original Painting has lately been purchased by an honourable Admiral, to
be presented by him to the Naval Gallery at Greenwich Hospital.

His father, Nathaniel Smith, was born in Eltham Palace, and was the
playfellow of Joseph Nollekens, R.A. They both learned drawing together at
William Shipley's school, then kept in the Strand, at the eastern corner
of Castle-court, the house where the Society of Arts held its first

On the 7th August, 1755, Nathaniel Smith was placed with Roubiliac, and
had the honour of working with him on some of the monuments in
Westminster Abbey; Nollekens was put, in 1750, under the instruction of
Scheemakers. These young sculptors, about 1759 and 1760, carried off some
of the first and best prizes offered by the Society of Arts. Smith settled
himself in Great Portland-street; and his friend Nollekens in
Mortimer-street, Cavendish-square, where he resided till his death.

Three of the heads of River Gods that adorn the arches of Somerset House,
designed by Cipriani, were carved by Mr. N. Smith. Many proofs of his
genius are recorded in the "Transactions of the Society of Arts." In 1758,
for the best model in clay, 5_l._ 5_s._; in 1759, for the best drawing
from a plaster cast, 5_l._ 5_s._; and for the first best drawing of
animals, 3_l._ 3_s._; in 1760, for the first best model of animals, 9_l._
9_s._ (this model is in the possession of Viscount Maynard); in 1761, for
the first best model, in clay, of the Continence of Scipio, 15_l._ 15_s._
(in the possession of the Marquis of Rockingham); in 1762, for the first
best model in clay, 21_l._--the subject, Coriolanus supplicated by his
Mother. Mr. N. Smith died in 1811. There is a portrait of him, etched by
De Wilde; and a small painting on panel by the same artist, is also
preserved. Three portraits of him by Howard are now in the family; as is
also a fine portrait of his sister, by Cotes.

The friendship between Nollekens and Nath. Smith naturally introduced
young Smith, the author of this work, to the notice of that celebrated
sculptor. Whilst a boy, his intercourse with Nollekens was frequent, who
often took him to walk with him in various parts of London, and seemed to
feel a pleasure in pointing out curious remains and alterations of
buildings to his notice, as well as shewing him some remarkable vestiges
of former times. Perhaps these communications gave the first impetus to
that love for metropolitan antiquities which he continued unabated through
life. Upon the death of his mother in 1779, young Smith was invited into
the studio of Mr. Nollekens, who had seen and approved of some of his
attempts in wax-modelling. At that time Nathaniel Smith was Nollekens's
principal assistant; and there his son was employed in making drawings
from his models of monuments, assisting in casting, and finally, though
with little talent, in carving. Whilst with Nollekens, young Smith often
stood to him as a model, but left him after three years. He then became a
student in the Royal Academy, and was celebrated for his pen and ink
imitations of Rembrandt and Ostade's etchings; he copied several of the
small pictures of Gainsborough, by whom he was kindly noticed. He
afterwards was placed by his honoured friend Dr. Hinchliffe, then Bishop
of Peterborough, as a pupil to John Keyse Sherwin, the celebrated
engraver; but appears for a time to have given up the burin for the
pencil, and was for many years a drawing master, and at one time resided
at Edmonton. At the early age of 22 he married "the girl of his heart,"
Miss Anne Maria Pickett (of the respectable family of Keighley, at
Streatham, in Surrey), who, after a union of 45 years, was left his widow.

The name of John Thomas Smith will descend to posterity connected with the
Topographical History of the Metropolis. His first work, published in
numbers, was entitled, "Antiquities of London and its Environs; dedicated
to Sir James Winter Lake, Bart. F.S.A.; containing Views of Houses,
Monuments, Statues, and other curious remains of antiquity, engraved from
the original subjects, and from original drawings communicated by several
members of the Society of Antiquaries." There was no letter-press
description of these plates; but under the subjects were engraved copious
"Remarks, and References to the Historical Works of Pennant, Lysons, Stow,
Weever, Camden, and Maitland." The publication commenced in January 1791.
About this period it became the fashion to illustrate with prints the
pleasant "Account of London," by Mr. Pennant; and Mr. Smith's series of
plates was a great acquisition to the collector. This work was ten years
in progress, and finally consisted of twelve numbers and ninety-six
plates; for a list of them, see Upcott's Bibliographical Account of
English Topography, vol. ii. p. 886.

In June, 1797, Mr. Smith published "Remarks on Rural Scenery; with twenty
Etchings of Cottages, from Nature; and some Observations and Precepts
relative to the Picturesque." The etchings were chiefly of cottages in the
neighbourhood of the metropolis.

In June, 1807, Mr. Smith published "Antiquities of Westminster; the old
Palace; and St. Stephen's Chapel (now the House of Commons); containing
246 Engravings of Topographical Objects, of which 122 no longer remain.
This work contains copies of MSS. which throw new and unexpected light on
the ancient History of the Arts in England." This history appears to have
been determined on in the year 1800: when, on occasion of the Union with
Ireland, it becoming necessary to remove the wainscotting for the
enlargement of the House of Commons, some very curious paintings were
discovered on the 11th of August in that year. The next day Dr. Charles
Gower and Mr. Smith visited the paintings: when the latter immediately
determined to publish engravings from them; and on the 14th, permission
having been obtained, Mr. Smith commenced his drawings. It was his custom
to go there as soon as it was light, and to work till nine o'clock in the
morning, when he was obliged to give way to the workmen, who often
followed him so close in their operations, as to remove, in the course of
the day on which he had made his sketch, the painting which he had been
employed in copying that very morning. Six weeks, day by day, was Mr.
Smith thus occupied in making drawings and memoranda from the pictures
themselves, scrupulously matching the tint of the different colours on the
spot. On the 26th of September, the permission which had been granted to
him was withdrawn (on Mr. Robert Smirke, the more favoured draughtsman,
undertaking to make drawings for the Society of Antiquaries); but
fortunately by that time Mr. Smith had completed details of every thing he
wished. An opinion having been entertained that Mr. Smith's work was
intended as a rival to the one published by the Society of Antiquaries,
from Mr. Smirke's drawings, the transaction was explained in some letters
to the Gentleman's Magazine from Mr. J. Sidney Hawkins, Mr. Smith, and Mr.
Smirke. See vol. LXXIII. pp. 32, 118, 204, 318, 423.

The description of the Plates was begun by John Sidney Hawkins, Esq.
F.S.A., who wrote the preface and the first 144 pages, besides other
portions, as enumerated in Mr. Smith's advertisement to the volume; but an
unfortunate dispute arising between these gentlemen (a circumstance much
to be regretted) the work was completed by the latter. Mr. Hawkins wrote
and published a pamphlet in answer to Mr. Smith's Preface; this produced a
"Vindication," in reply, which is occasionally to be found bound at the
end of the volume. Before this "Vindication" was published, a fire at Mr.
Bensley's printing office destroyed 400 remaining copies of the work, with
5,600 prints, 2000 of which were coloured and elaborately gilt by Mr.
Smith and his wife. By this fire Mr. Smith sustained a severe loss
(estimated at £3,000) as the work was his entire property, having been
published at his sole expense, aided by an unusually liberal subscription;
Mr. Hawkins having no further interest or concern in it than furnishing
gratuitously the greater portion of the descriptions. Mr. Smith afterwards
published "Sixty-two additional Plates" to his "Antiquities of
Westminster;"[1] but without any description, or even a list of them; for
which however see Upcott's Account of English Topography, vol. ii. p. 839.

The "Antiquities of London, &c." was followed by another work on the same
subject, in a larger and more splendid quarto, entitled, "Ancient
Topography of London, embracing specimens of sacred, public and domestic
Architecture, from the earliest period to the time of the great Fire,
1666. Drawn and etched by John Thomas Smith, intended as an Accompaniment
to the celebrated Histories of Stow, Pennant, and others." This work was
begun in October 1810, and completed in 1815, when the title was altered
as follows: "Ancient Topography of London; containing not only Views of
Buildings which in many instances no longer exist, and for the most part
were never before published, but some Account of Places and Customs either
unknown or overlooked by the London Historians." He was assisted in the
descriptions by Francis Douce, Esq. F.S.A. and other friends. This volume
consists of 32 Plates, boldly and masterly etched by Mr. Smith, much in
the style of Piranesi, and explained in 82 pages of letter-press. To the
subscribers Mr. Smith intimated his intention to extend his work to 100
pages, with several other plates; but this was never executed; he at the
same time solicited communications for his intended "Account of the Parish
of St. Paul, Covent Garden." The Manuscript is still possessed by his

Mr. Smith happily escaped the necessity and drudgery of continuing his
labours as an artist, being appointed in 1816, Keeper of the Prints and
Drawings in the British Museum.

In 1817 he published "Vagabondiana; or, Anecdotes of Mendicant Wanderers
through the Streets of London; with Portraits of the most remarkable,
drawn from the life;" preceded by a masterly introduction, from the pen of
Francis Douce, Esq. The present Volume, which was prepared for the press
by Mr. Smith, but never before published, may be considered as a
continuation of the same subject.

In 1828 Mr. Smith published two volumes, entitled, "Nollekens and his
Times; comprehending a Life of that celebrated Sculptor; and Memoirs of
several contemporary Artists, from the time of Roubiliac, Hogarth, and
Reynolds, to that of Fuseli, Flaxman, and Blake," 2 vols. 8vo. These
volumes abound with anecdotes of his venerable master, his wife, and their
connexions, and of many of the artists of the last century. The
publication passed through two editions.[2]

Mr. Smith had been employed on a work, which he intended to call "Walks
through London;" and in which he was to describe the Residences, with
anecdotes of eminent persons. He announced a "History of his own Life and
Times," the materials for which have been purchased by Mr. Bentley. He had
also at one time a very extensive and curious illustrated series of the
Royal Academy Catalogues. The greater part of his collection of Autographs
and Letters was purchased a few years since by Mr. Upcott; and it is
believed others were sold by Mr. Christie. His remaining collection of
pictures, books, models, and casts in terra-cotta and plaster, were sold
at his house, 22, University-street, Tottenham Court Road, on Tuesday the
23d of April, 1833.

Mr. Smith was very generally known, both from the importance of his
publications and the public situation he held at the British Museum, where
he evinced much cordiality of disposition. Many an instance might be
mentioned of his charitable and friendly assistance to young artists who
sought his advice. He had good judgment to discover merit where it
existed, inherent good feeling to encourage it in a deserving object, and
sufficient candour to deter from the pursuit where he found there was no
indication of talent. In short, he was a very warm and sincere friend; and
has been greatly regretted by many who had enjoyed his good-humoured
conversation and ever amusing fund of anecdote; more particularly by the
frequenters of the print-room of the Museum, where his unremitting
attentions ensured for him the regard and respect of some of the first
characters of the country.

In Mr. Upcott's album he wrote a playful account of himself, in which is
the following paragraph. "I can boast of seven _events_, some of which
_great_ men would be proud of. I received a kiss _when a boy_ from the
beautiful Mrs. Robinson,--was patted on the head by Dr. Johnson,--have
frequently held Sir Joshua Reynolds's spectacles,--partook of a pot of
porter with an elephant,--saved Lady Hamilton from falling when the
melancholy news arrived of Lord Nelson's death,--three times conversed
with King George the Third,--and was shut up in a room with Mr. Kean's

Mr. Smith's last illness, an inflammation of the lungs, was but of one
week's duration. He was fully conscious of his approaching dissolution,
and died in the possession of all his faculties, surrounded by his family,
on the 8th of March 1833, at No. 22, University Street, Tottenham Court
Road. He was privately interred on the 16th in the burial ground of St.
George's Chapel, near Tyburn Turnpike, attended to the grave by a few old
friends and brother artists.

Besides his widow Mr. Smith left one son, who died at the Cape of Good
Hope three months after his father; and two daughters; one of whom is
married to Mr. Smith, the sculptor; the other to Mr. Fischer, the
miniature-painter, a native of Hanover.

Of Mr. Smith there is a three-quarters portrait by J. Jackson, R.A.; and
also a drawing of him by the same artist, from which the engraving given
in this work, by Skelton, is copied.



There are few subjects, perhaps, so eagerly attended to by the young as
those related by their venerable parents when assembled round the
fire-side, but more particularly descriptions of the customs and habits of
ancient times. Now as the Cries of London are sometimes the topic of
conversation, the author of the present work is not without the hope of
finding, amongst the more aged as well as juvenile readers, many to whom
it may prove acceptable, inasmuch as it not only exhibits several
Itinerant Traders and other persons of various callings of the present
day, but some of those of former times, collected from engravings executed
in the reigns of James I., Charles I. and during the Usurpation of Oliver
Cromwell, and which, on account of their extreme rarity, are seldom to be
seen but in the most curious and expensive Collections.

In the perusal of this volume the collector of English Costume, as well as
the Biographer, may find something to his purpose, particularly in the
old dresses, as it was the custom for our forefathers to wear habits
peculiar to their station, and not, as in the present times, when a
linen-draper's apprentice, or a gentleman's butler, may, in the boxes of
the theatre, by means of his dress, and previously to uttering a word, be
mistaken for the man of fashion.

Of all the itinerant callings the Watchman, the Water Carrier, the Vender
of Milk, the Town Crier, and the Pedlar, are most probably of the highest

When the Suburbs of London were infested with wolves and other
depredators, and the country at large in a perpetual state of warfare, it
was found expedient for the inhabitants to protect themselves, and for
that purpose they surrounded their city by a wall, and according to the
most ancient custom erected barbicans or watch-towers at various
distances, commanding a view of the country, so that those on guard might
see the approach of an enemy. This is an extremely ancient custom, as we
find in the Second Book of Kings, chapter ix. verse 17, "And there stood a
watchman on the Tower in Jezreel."

With respect to water, it is natural to suppose that before conduits were
established in London, the inhabitants procured it from the River Thames,
and that infirm people, and the more opulent citizens, compensated others
for the trouble of bringing it.

This must have also been the practice as to milk, in consequence of the
farm-houses always being situated in the suburbs for the purpose of
grazing the cattle. Stowe, the historian, has informed us that in his
boyish days he had his three quarts of milk hot from the cow for his

The Water Carrier will be described and delineated in the course of this

As the city increased in population, a Town Crier became expedient, so
that an article to be sold, or any thing lost, might be in the shortest
possible time made known to the inhabitants of the remotest dwelling.
Shakspeare has marked the character of a Crier of his time in Hamlet, Act
iii. scene 2, "But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as
lieve the Town-crier spoke my lines." Lazarello de Tormes, in the very
entertaining history of his life, describes his having been a Crier at
Madrid, and that by blowing a horn he announced the sale of some wine.

Sometimes the criers of country towns afford instances of the grossest
flattery and ignorance. We have an instance in the Crier of Cowbridge,
Glamorganshire, who, after announcing the loss of an "all black cow, with
a white face and a white tail," concluded with the usual exclamation of
"God save the King and the Lord of the Manor!" adding, "and Master Billy!"
well knowing that the Lord of the Manor or his Lady would remember him for
recollecting their infant son.

It may be inferred from an ancient stained glass picture of a pedlar with
his pack at his back, still to be seen in a South-east window of Lambeth
Church,[4] a representation of which has been given by the author in a
work entitled, "Antiquities of London," that itinerant trades must have
been of long standing.

It appears from the celebrated Comedy of Ignoramus, by George Ruggle,
performed before King James the First on March the 8th, 1614, of which
there is an English translation by Robert Codrington, published 1662, that
books were at that period daily cried in the streets.

In the third scene of the second act, _Cupes_ the itinerant Bibliopole

    Libelli, belli, belli; lepidi, novi libelli; belli, belli, libelli!

    _Trico._ Heus, libelli belli.

    _Cupes._ O Trico, mox tibi operam do. Ita vivam, ut pessimi sunt

In the time of Charles II. ballad singers and _sellers of small books_
were required to be licensed. John Clarke, bookseller, rented the
licensing of all ballad-singers of Charles Killigrew, Esq. master of the
revels, for five years, which term expired in 1682. "These, therefore, are
to give notice (saith the latter gentleman in the London Gazette) to all
ballad-singers, that they take out licenses at the office of the Revels at
Whitehall, for singing and selling of ballads and small books, according
to an antient custom. And all persons concerned are hereby desired to take
notice of, and to suppress, all mountebanks, rope-dancers, prize-players,
ballad-singers, and such as make shew of motions and strange sights, that
have not a license in red and black letters, under the hand and seal of
the said Charles Killigrew, Esq. Master of the Revels to his Majesty; and
in particular, to suppress one Mr. Irish, Mr. Thomas Varney, and Thomas
Yeats, mountebank, who have no license, that they may be proceeded against
according to law."

The Gazette of April 14, 1684, contains another order relative to these
licenses: "All persons concerned are hereby desired to take notice of and
suppress all mountebanks, rope-dancers, ballad-singers, &c. that have not
a license from the Master of his Majesty's Revels (which, for this present
year, are all printed with black letters, and the King's Arms in red) and
particularly Samuel Rutherford and ---- Irish, mountebanks, and William
Bevel and Richard Olsworth; and all those that have licenses with red and
black letters, are to come to the office to change them for licenses as
they are now altered."

The origin of our early cries might be ascribed to the parent of
invention. An industrious man finding perhaps his trade running slack,
might have ventured abroad with his whole stock, and by making his case
known, invited his neighbours to purchase; and this mode of vending
commodities being adopted by others, probably established the custom of
itinerant hawkers, to the great and truly serious detriment of those
housekeepers who contributed to support their country by the payment of
their taxes. An Act was passed in the reign of James the First, and is
thus noticed in a work entitled, "Legal Provisions for the Poor, by S. C.
of the Inner Temple, 1713." "All Pedlars, Petty-chapmen, Tinkers, and
Glass-men, _per Statute_ 21 _Jac._ 28, _abroad_, especially if they be
unknown, or have not a sufficient testimonial, and though a man have a
certain habitation, yet if he goes about from place to place selling small
wares, he is punishable by the 39 Eliz."

Hawkers and Pedlars are obliged at this time, in consequence of an Act
passed in the reign of King George the Third, to take out a license.

Originally the common necessaries of life were only sold in the _streets_,
but we find as early as the reign of Elizabeth that cheese-cakes were to
be had at the small _house_ near the Serpentine River in Hyde Park. It is
a moated building, and to this day known under the appellation of the
"Queen's Cheese-cake House."[5] There were also other houses for the sale
of cheese-cakes, and those at Hackney and Holloway were particularly
famous. The landlord of the latter employed people to cry them about the
streets of London; and within the memory of the father of the present
writer an old man delivered his cry of "Holloway Cheese-cakes," in a tone
so whining and slovenly, that most people thought he said "All my teeth
ache." Indeed among persons who have been long accustomed to cry the
articles they have for sale, it is often impossible to guess at what they

An instance occurs in an old woman who has for a length of time sold
mutton dumplings in the neighbourhood of Gravel Lane. She may be followed
for a whole evening, and all that can be conjectured from her utterance is
"Hot mutton trumpery."

In another instance, none but those who have heard the man, would for a
moment believe that his cry of "Do you want a brick or brick dust?" could
have been possibly mistaken for "Do you want a lick on the head?"

An inhabitant of the Adelphi, when an invalid, was much annoyed by the
peevish and lengthened cry of "Venny," proceeding every morning and
evening from a muffin-man whenever he rang his bell.

Many of the old inhabitants of Cavendish Square must recollect the
mournful manner in which a weather-beaten Hungerford fisherman cried his
"Large silver Eels, live Eels." This man's tones were so melancholy to the
ears of a lady in Harley Street that she allowed the fellow five shillings
a week to discontinue his cry in that neighbourhood; and there is at the
present time a slip-shod wretch who annoys Portland Place and its vicinity
generally twice, and sometimes three times a day, with what may be
strictly called the braying of an ass, and all his vociferation is to
inform the public that he sells water-cresses, though he appears to call
"Chick-weed." Another Stentorian bawler, and even a greater nuisance in
the same neighbourhood, seems to his unfortunate hearers to deal in
"Cats'-meat," though his real cry is "Cabbage-plants."

The witty author of a tract entitled, "An Examination of certain Abuses,
Corruptions, and Enormities, in the City of Dublin," written in the year
1732, says, "I would advise all new comers to look out at their garret
windows, and there see whether the thing that is cried be _Tripes_ or
_Flummery_, _Buttermilk_ or _Cowheels_; for, as things are now managed,
how is it possible for an honest countryman just arrived, to find out what
is meant, for instance, by the following words, '_Muggs, Juggs, and
Porringers, up in the Garret, and down in the Cellar?_' I say, how is it
possible for a stranger to understand that this jargon is meant as an
invitation to buy a farthing's worth of milk for his breakfast or supper?"

Captain Grose, in his very entertaining little work, entitled "An Olio,"
in which there are many interesting anecdotes, notices several perversions
of this kind, particularly one of a woman who sold milk.

Farthing mutton pies were made and continued to be sold within the memory
of persons now living at a house which was then called the "Farthing Pie
House," in Marylebone Fields, before the New Road was made between
Paddington and Islington, and which house remains in its original state at
the end of Norton Street, New Road, bearing the sign of the Green Man.

Hand's Bun House at Chelsea was established about one hundred and twenty
years since, and probably was the first of its kind. There was also a
famous bun-house at the time of George the Second in the Spa Fields, near
the New River Head, on the way to Islington, but this was long since
pulled down to make way for the sheep-pens, the site of which is now
covered with houses.

The first notice which the writer has been able to obtain of the hot
apple-dumpling women is in Ned Ward's very entertaining work, entitled
"The London Spy," first published in 1698. He there states that Pancakes
and "Diddle, diddle dumplings O!" were then cried in Rosemary Lane and its
vicinity, commonly called Rag Fair. The representation of a
dumpling-woman, in the reign of Queen Anne, is given by Laroon in his
Cries of London, published 1711.[6]

With respect to hot potatoes, they must have been considerably more
modern, as there are persons now living who declare them to have been
eaten with great caution, and very rarely admitted to the table. The
potatoe is a native of Peru in South America; it has been introduced into
England about a century and a half; the Irish seem to have been the first
general cultivators of it in the western parts of Europe.

Rice milk, furmety, and barley-broth were in high request at the time of
Hogarth, about 1740. Boitard, a French artist, who was in England at that
time, has left us a most spirited representation of the follies of the day
in his print entitled "Covent Garden Morning Frolic," in which the
barley-broth woman is introduced. Without detracting from the merit of the
immortal Hogarth, this print, which is extremely rare, exhibits as much
humour as any of his wonderful productions. A copy of this engraving with
an explanatory account of the portraits which it exhibits, will be given
by the author in his Topographical History of Covent Garden, a work for
which he has been collecting materials for upwards of thirty years.[7]

The use of saloop is of very recent date. It was brought into notice, and
first sold in Fleet Street one hundred years ago, at the house now No.
102, where lines in its praise were painted upon a board and hung up in
the first room from the street, a copy of which will precede a print
representing a saloop stall, given in this work.

Formerly strong waters were publicly sold in the streets, but since the
duty has been laid on spirits, and an Act passed to oblige persons to take
out a license for dealing in liquors, the custom of hawking such
commodities has been discontinued.

The town, from the vigilance of the Police, has fortunately got rid of a
set of people called Duffers, who stood at the corners of streets,
inviting the unsuspicious countryman to lay out his money in silk
handkerchiefs or waistcoat pieces, which they assured him in a whisper to
have been smuggled. A notorious fellow of this class, who had but one eye,
took his stand regularly near the gin-shop at the corner of Hog Lane,
Oxford Street. The mode adopted by such men to draw the ignorant higgler
into a dark room, where he was generally fleeced, was by assuring him that
no one could see them, and as for a glass of old Tom, he would pay for
that himself, merely for the pleasure of shewing his goods.

Though this custom of accosting passengers at the corners of streets is
very properly done away with, yet the tormenting importunities of the
barking shopkeeper is still permitted, as all can witness as they pass
through Monmouth Street, Rosemary Lane, Houndsditch, and Moorfields. The
public were annoyed in this way so early as 1626, as appears from the
following passage in "Greene's Ghost:" "There are another sort of
Prentices, that when they see a gentlewoman or a countriman minded to buy
any thing, they will fawne upon them, with cap in hand, with 'What lacke
you, gentlewoman? what lacke you, countriman? see what you lacke.'"

[Illustration: _"Watchman"_]

[Illustration: _"Bellman & Billman"_]

[Illustration: _"Watchman"_]



It has been observed in the Introduction, that of all the callings, that
of the Watchman is perhaps of the highest antiquity; and as few writers
can treat on any subject without a quotation from honest John Stowe, the
following extract is inserted from that valuable and venerable author:

"Then had yee, besides the standing watches, all in bright harnesse, in
every ward and streete of this citie and suburbs, a marching watch that
passed thro' the principal streets thereof, to wit, from the Little
Conduit by Paule's gate, thro' West Cheape, by the Stocks, thro'
Cornehill, by Leadenhall to Aldgate, then backe downe Fen-church Street,
by Grasse Church, about Grasse-church Conduit, and by Grasse Church
Streete into Cornehill, and through it into Cheape again, and so broke up.
The whole way ordered for this marching watch extended to 3200 taylors
yards of assize. For the furniture thereof with lights there were
appointed 700 cressets, 500 of them being found by the Companies, and the
other 200 by the Chamber of London.[8] Besides the which lights, every
Constable in London, in number more then 240, had his cresset; the charge
of every cresset was in light two shillings and four pence, and every
cresset had two men, one to beare or hold it, another to beare a bagge
with light, and to serve it; so that the poore men pertaining to the
cressets, taking wages, besides that every one had a strawne hat, with a
badge painted, and his breakfast in the morning, amounted in number to
almost 2000. The marching watch contained in number 2000 men, part of them
being old souldiers, of skill to be captaines, lieutenants, serjeants,
corporals, &c. Wiflers, drummers, and fifes, standard and ensigne bearers,
sword-players, trumpeters on horsebacke, demilaunces on great horses,
gunners with hand-guns, or halfe hakes, archers in coates of white
fustian, signed on the breast and backe with the armes of the City, their
bowes bent in their hands, with sheafes of arrowes by their sides, pikemen
in bright corslets, burganets, &c. holbards, the like Billmen in Almaine
rivets, and apernes of mayle, in great number."[9]

Mr. Douce observes, that these watches were "laid down 20 Henry VIII.;"
and that "the Chronicles of Stow and Byddel assign the sweating sickness
as a cause for discontinuing the watch."

"Anno 1416. Sir Henry Barton being maiar, ordained lanthorns and lights to
be hang'd out on the winter evenings, betwixt Alhallows and Candlemas."

Mr. Warton, in his notes to Milton's Poems, observes, that anciently the
Watchmen who cried the hours used the following or the like benedictions,
which are to be found in a little poem called "The Bellman," inserted in
Robert Herrick's Hesperides:

  "From noise of scare-fires rest ye free,
  From murder, Benedicite.
  From all mischances, that may fright
  Your pleasing slumbers in the night;
  Mercie secure ye all, and keep
  The goblin from ye while ye sleep." 1647.

The First Plate of the Watchman, introduced in this work, is copied from
a rare woodcut sheet-print engraved at the time of James the First,
consisting of twelve distinct figures of trades and callings, six men and
six women. Under this Watchman the following verses are introduced, but
they are evidently of a more modern date than that of the woodcut:

  "Maids in your smocks, look to your locks,
    Your fire and candle light;
  For well 'tis known, much mischief's done
    By both in dead of night.
  Your locks and fire do not neglect,
  And so you may good rest expect."

Under another Watchman, in the same set of figures, are the following
lines, of the same type and orthography as the preceding:

  "A light here, maids, hang out your light,
  And see your horns be clear and bright,
  That so your candle clear may shine,
  Continuing from six till nine;
  That honest men that walk along,
  May see to pass safe without wrong."

There were not only Watchmen, but Bellmen and Billmen. These people were
armed with a long bill in case of fire, so that they could, as the houses
were mostly of timber, stop the progress of the flames by cutting away
connections of fuel.

Of this description of men, the Second Plate, copied from a rare print
prefixed to a work, entitled, "Villanies discovered by Lanthorne and
Candle-light,"[10] by T. Deckar, or Dekker, 1616, is given as a specimen.
The Bellman is stiled "The Childe of Darkness, a common Night-walker, a
man that had no man to waite uppon him, but onely a dog, one that was a
disordered person, and at midnight would beate at men's doores, bidding
them (in meere mockerie) to look to their candles when they themselves
were in their dead sleeps, and albeit he was an officer, yet he was but of
light carriage, being knowne by the name of the Bellman of London."

In Strype's edition of Stowe's London, 1756, (vol. ii. 489,) it is
observed, "Add to this government of the nightly watches, there is
belonging to each ward a Bellman, who, especially in the long nights,
goeth thro' the streets and lanes, ringing a bell; and when his bell
ceaseth, he salutes his masters and mistresses with some rhimes, suitable
to the festivals and seasons of the year; and bids them look to their
lights. The beginning of which custom seems to be in the reign of Queen
Mary, in January 1556; and set up first in Cordwainer-street Ward, by
Alderman Draper, Alderman of that ward; then and there, as I find in an
old Journal, one began to go all night with a bell; and at every lane's
end, and at the ward's end, gave warning of fire and candle, and to helpe
the poor, and pray for the dead."

It appears from the Bellman's Epistle, prefixed to the London Bellman,
published in 1640, that he came on at midnight, and remained ringing his
bell till the rising up of the morning. He says, "I will wast out mine
eies with my candles, and watch from midnight till the rising up of the
morning: my bell shall ever be ringing, and that faithfull servant of mine
(the dog that follows me) be ever biting."

Leases of houses, and household furniture stuff, were sold in 1564 by an
out-cryer and bellman for the day, who retained one farthing in the
shilling for his pains.

The friendly Mr. George Dyer, late a printseller of Compton-street,
presented to the writer a curious sheet print containing twelve Trades and
Callings, published by Overton, without date, but evidently of the time of
Charles the Second, from which engraving the Third Plate of a Watchman was

[Illustration: _"A Tankard Bearer"_]



The Conduits of London and its environs, which were established at an
early period, supplied the metropolis with water until Sir Hugh Middleton
brought the New River from Amwell to London, and then the Conduits
gradually fell into disuse, as the New River water was by degrees laid on
in pipes to the principal buildings in the City, and, in the course of
time, let into private houses.

When the above Conduits supplied the inhabitants, they either carried
their vessels, or sent their servants for the water as they wanted it; but
we may suppose that at an early period there were a number of men who for
a fixed sum carried the water to the adjoining houses. The first
delineation the writer has been able to discover of a Water-carrier, is in
Hoefnagle's print of Nonsuch, published in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

The next is in the centre of that truly-curious and more rare sheet
wood-cut, entitled, "Tittle-Tattle," which from the dresses of the figures
must have been engraved either in the latter part of the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, or the beginning of that of James the First. In this wood-cut
the maid servants are at a Conduit, where they hold their tittle-tattle,
while the Water-carriers are busily engaged in filling their buckets and
conveying them on their shoulders to the places of destination.

The figure of a Water-carrier, introduced in the Fourth Plate, is copied
from one of a curious and rare set of cries and callings of London,
published by Overton, at the White Horse without Newgate. The figure
retains the dress of Henry the Eighth's time; his cap is similar to that
usually worn by Sir Thomas More, and also to that given in the portrait of
Albert Durer, engraved by Francis Stock. It appears by this print, that
the tankard was borne upon the shoulder, and, to keep the carrier dry, two
towels were fastened over him, one to fall before him, the other to cover
his back. His pouch, in which we are to conclude he carried his money, has
been thus noticed in a very curious and rare tract, entitled, "_Green's
Ghost_, with the merry Conceits of Doctor Pinch-backe," published 1626:
"To have some store of crownes in his purse, coacht in a faire trunke
flop, like a boulting hutch."

Ben Jonson, in his admirable comedy of "Every Man in his Humour," first
performed in 1598, has made Cob the water-carrier of the Old Jewry, at
whose house Captain Bobadil lodges, a very leading and entertaining
character. Speaking of himself before the Justice, he says, "I dwell, Sir,
at the sign of the Water-tankard, hard by the Green Lattice; I have paid
scot and lot there many time this eighteen years."

The first notice which the writer has been able to obtain of the
introduction of the New River water into public buildings in London, he
found in the Archives of Old Bethlem, in which it appears, that "on the
26th of February, 1626, Mr. Middleton conveyed water into Bethlem." This
must have been, according to its date, the old Bethlem Hospital that stood
in Bishopsgate-street, near St. Botolph's Church, on the site of the
streets which are at this time under the denomination of Old Bethlem; as
the building lately taken down in London Wall, Moorfields, was begun in
April 1675, and finished in July 1676. It should seem therefore that this
magnificent building, which had more the appearance of a palace than a
place of confinement, most substantially built with a centre and two
wings, extending in length to upwards of 700 feet, was only one year in
building; a most extraordinary instance of manual application.

In 1698, when Cheapside Conduit was no longer used for its original
purpose, it became the place of call for chimney-sweepers, who hung up
their brooms and shovels against it, and there waited for hire.

It appears that even in 1711 the New River water was not generally let
into houses; for in Laroon's Cries of London, which were published at that
time, there is a man with two tubs suspended across his shoulders,
according to the present mode of carrying milk, at the foot of which plate
is engraved "Any New River Water, water here."[11]



Of all the calamities with which a great city is infested, there can be
none so truly awful as that of a plague, when the street-doors of the
houses that were visited with the dreadful pest were padlocked up, and
only accessible to the surgeons and medical men, whose melancholy duty
frequently exposed them even to death itself; and when the fronts of the
houses were pasted over with large bills exhibiting red crosses, to denote
that in such houses the pestilence was raging, and requesting the solitary
passenger to pray that the Lord might have mercy upon those who were
confined within. Of these bills there are many extant in the libraries of
the curious, some of which have borders engraved on wood, printed in
black, displaying figures of skeletons, bones, and coffins. They also
contain various recipes for the cure of the distemper. The Lady Arundell,
and other persons of distinction, published their methods for making what
was then called plague-water, and which are to be found in many of the
rare books on cookery of the time; but happily for London, it has not been
visited by this affliction since 1665, a circumstance owing probably to
the Great Fire in the succeeding year, which consumed so many old and
deplorable buildings, then standing in narrow streets and places so
confined that it was hardly possible to know where any pest would stop.

Every one who inspects Aggas's Plan of London, engraved in the reign of
Elizabeth, as well as those published subsequently to the rebuilding of
the City after the fire, must acknowledge the great improvements as to
the houses, the widening of the streets, and the free admission of fresh
air. It is to be hoped, and indeed we may conclude from the very great and
daily improvements on that most excellent plan of widening streets, that
this great City will never again witness such visitations.

[Illustration: _"Corpse Bearer"_]

When the plague was at its height, perhaps nothing could have been more
silently or solemnly conducted than the removal of the dead to the various
pits round London, that were opened for their reception; and it was the
business of Corpse Bearers, such as the one exhibited in the Fifth Plate,
to give directions to the Car-men, who went through the City with bells,
which they rang, at the same time crying "Bring out your Dead." This
melancholy description may be closed, by observing that many parts of
London, particularly those leading to the Courts of Westminster, were so
little trodden down, that the grass grew in the middle of the streets. Few
persons would believe the truth of the following extract:

"A profligate wretch had taken up a new way of thieving (yet 'tis said too
much practised in those times), of robbing the dead, notwithstanding the
horror that is naturally concomitant. This trade he followed so long, till
he furnished a warehouse with the spoils of the dead; and had gotten into
his possession (some say) to the number of a thousand winding-sheets." See
Memoirs of the Life and Death of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, published 1682.

It is remarkable, and shows the great advantage of our River Thames, that
during the Plague of 1665, according to a remark made by Lord Clarendon,
not one house standing upon London Bridge was visited by the plague.

Although the subject of Funerals has been so often treated of by various
authors, yet the following extracts will not, it is hoped, be deemed
irrelevant by the reader. They may serve too as a contrast to the
confusion and mingling of dust which must have taken place during the
plague, in the burial of so many thousands in so short a space of time,
and they may show likewise the vanity of human nature.

In "Chamberlain's Imitation of Holbein's Drawings," in his Majesty's
collection, is the following passage alluding to the great care Lady Hobye
took as to the arrangement of her funeral.

"Her fondness for those pompous soothings, which it was usual at that time
for grief to accept at the hands of pride, scarcely died with her; for, a
letter is extant from her to Sir William Dethick, Garter King of Arms,
desiring to know 'what number of mourners were due to her calling; what
number of waiting women, pages, and gentlemen ushers; of chief mourners,
lords, and gentlemen; the manner of her hearse, of the heralds, and
church?' &c. This remarkable epistle concludes thus: 'Good Mr. Garter, do
it exactly, for I find forewarnings that bid me provide a pick-axe,' &c.
The time of her death is not exactly known, but it is supposed to have
been about 1596. She is buried at Bisham, with her first husband.[12] It
was this Lady's daughter, Elizabeth Russell, that was said to have died
with a pricked finger."

It was usual at funerals to use rosemary, even to the time of Hogarth, who
has introduced it in a pewter plate on the coffin-lid of the funeral scene
in his Harlot's Progress. Shakspeare notices it in Romeo and Juliet, "And
stick your _rosemary_ on this fair corse." "This plant," says Mr. Douce,
in his "Illustrations of Shakspeare and Ancient Manners," page 216, vol.
i. "was used in various ways at funerals. Being an evergreen, it was
regarded as an emblem of the soul's immortality." Thus in Cartwright's
"Ordinary," Act 5, scene 1:

  "----------------If there be
  Any so kind as to accompany
  My body to the earth, let them not want
  For entertainment; pr'ythee see they have
  _A sprig of rosemary_ dip'd in common water,
  To smell to as they walk along the streets."

In an obituary kept by Mr. Smith, secondary of one of the Compters, and
preserved among the Sloanian MSS. in the British Museum, No. 886, is the
following entry: "Jan. 2, 1671, Mr. Cornelius Bee, Bookseller in Little
Britain, died; buried Jan. 4, at Great St. Bartholomew's, without a
sermon, without wine or wafers, only gloves and _rosemary_." And Mr. Gay,
when describing Blowselinda's funeral, records that "Sprigg'd rosemary the
lads and lasses bore."

Suicides were buried on the north side of the church, in ground purposely

The custom of burial observed by that truly respectable class of the
community denominated Friends, commonly called Quakers, may be deemed the
most rational, as it is conducted with the utmost simplicity.

The corpse is kept the usual time; it is then put into a plain coffin
uncovered. Afterwards it is placed in a plain hearse, also uncovered, and
without feathers; the attendants accompanying the funeral in their family
carriages, or hackney coaches. The corpse is then placed by the side of
the grave where sometimes they offer a prayer, or deliver an exhortation,
after which the coffin is lowered, the earth put over it, and thus the
ceremony closes. Should the deceased have been a minister, then the corpse
on the day of its interment is carried into the meeting house, and remains
there in the midst of the congregation during their meditations.

The orthodox members of this society never wear any kind of mourning.
Relatives are never designedly placed by each other, but are buried
indiscriminately, as death may visit each member.

They begin at the left hand upper corner, placing them in rows till they
have filled the ground to the lower right hand corner, after which they
commence again as before. They make no distinction whatever between male
and female, nor young and old, nor have they even so much as a

The Jews bury their dead within four and twenty hours, adhering to the
custom of the East, where the body would putrify beyond that time. The
great burial-ground at Mile End was made at the sole expense of the famous
Moses Hart, who, after losing an immense sum in the South Sea bubble, died
worth 5000_l._ _per annum_. This munificent Jew also built the Dutch
Synagogue in Duke's-place. The squib prints of the day designate Moses
Hart by the introduction of the Knave of Hearts. The Knave of Clubs in the
same plate was meant for the ancestor of the Gideon family. The Jews bury
their poor by a collection made at the funerals of the better part of the
community. Several boys go about to the mourners and other Jews assembled
upon the occasion, with tin boxes padlocked up, at the top of which there
is a small slit to admit of the contributions, and every Jew present,
however humble his station, is eager to drop in his mite.

[Illustration: _"Hackney Coachman"_]



From the writer's extensive knowledge of prints, and his intimate
acquaintance with the various collections in England, he has every reason
to conclude that the original print of a Hackney Coachman, from which this
Plate has been copied, is perhaps the only representation of the earliest
character of that calling. The print from which it was taken is one of a
Set published by Overton, at the sign of the White Horse without Newgate;
and its similarity to the figures given by Francis Barlow in his Æsop's
Fables, and particularly in a most curious sheet-print etched by that
artist, exhibiting Charles the Second, the Duke of York, &c. viewing the
Races on Dorset Ferry near Windsor, in 1687, sufficiently proves this
Hackney Coachman to have been of the reign of that monarch.

The early Hackney Coachman did not sit upon the box as the present drivers
do, but upon the horse, like a postilion; his whip is short for that
purpose; his boots, which have large open broad tops, must have been much
in his way, and exposed to the weight of the rain. His coat was not
according to the fashion of the present drivers as to the numerous capes,
which certainly are most rational appendages, as the shoulders never get
wet; the front of the coat has not the advantage of the present folding
one, as it is single breasted.

His hat was pretty broad, and so far he was screened from the weather.
Another convincing proof that he rode as a postilion is, that his boots
are spurred. In that truly curious print representing the very interesting
Palace of Nonsuch, engraved by Hoefnagle, in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, the coachman who drives the royal carriage in which the Queen
is seated, is placed on a low seat behind the horses, and has a long whip
to command those he guides. How soon after Charles the Second's time the
Hackney Coachmen rode on a box the writer has not been able to learn, but
in all the prints of King William's time the Coachmen are represented upon
the box, though by no means so high as at present; nor was it the fashion
at the time of Queen Anne to be so elevated as to deprive the persons in
the carriage of the pleasure of looking over their shoulders.

Brewer, in his "Beauties of Middlesex," observes in a note, that "It is
familiarly said, that Hackney, on account of its numerous respectable
inhabitants, was the first place near London provided with Coaches for
hire, for the accommodation of families, and that thence arises the term
Hackney Coaches."

This appears quite futile; the word Hackney, as applied to a hireling, is
traced to a remote British origin, and was certainly used in its present
sense long before that village became conspicuous for wealth or

In 1637 the number of Hackney Coaches in London was confined to 50, in
1652 to 200, in 1654 to 300, in 1662 to 400, in 1694 to 700, in 1710 to
800, in 1771 to 1000, and in 1802 to 1100. In imitation of our Hackney
Coaches, Nicholas Sauvage introduced the Fiacres at Paris, in the year
1650. The hammer-cloth is an ornamental covering of the coach-box. Mr. S.
Pegge says, "The Coachman formerly used to carry a hammer, pincers, a few
nails, &c. in a leathern pouch hanging to his box, and this cloth was
devised for the hiding of them from public view." See Pegge's
"Anonymiana," p. 181.

It is said that the sum of £1500, arising from the duty on Hackney
Coaches, was applied in part of the expense in rebuilding Temple Bar.

[Illustration: _"Jailor"_]



Those persons who remember old Newgate, the Gate House at Westminster, and
other places of confinement, will recollect how small and inconvenient
those buildings were, and must acknowledge the very great improvements as
to the extensive accommodation of all our Prisons, not only in London, but
in almost every county in England; and for these very great improvements
no one could have stood more forward than the benevolent Howard. It is to
him the public owe extensiveness of building, separations in the prisons
for the various criminals, and most liberal supply of fresh water. Since
his time there have been few jail distempers, as the prisoners have
spacious yards to walk in, and by thus being exposed to fresh air are kept
free from fevers and other disorders incidental to places of confinement.
Let any one who recollects old Newgate survey the present structure, and
he will be highly gratified with the respectable order kept up in that
edifice. In some of the counties the jails may be looked upon as asylums,
for neatness and good management, particularly that of Cambridge, where,
instead of the whole of the prisoners for every sort of crime being
huddled together in the tower of the Castle, they have now a building
which affords separate apartments for men, women, and children, and this
on the most elevated spot, commanding views of the adjacent country from
every window. Whoever has visited Chelmsford Jail must have been delighted
with its humane and sensible construction. Those who do not recollect the
old prisons will, upon an inspection of Fox's Book of Martyrs, perceive in
the Prisons of Lambeth Palace, the Bishop of London's House, Aldersgate
Street, &c. how very small and confined those prisons were, having been
not above eight feet square, with low ceilings and hardly an opening to
let in the light. In addition to these miseries each room had its stocks,
in which the prisoners were placed. The residences of our sovereigns in
former days had likewise their prisons. Three of these were in the old
palace of Westminster, viz. Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. Heaven was a
place where, if the prisoners could afford to pay, they had
accommodations. Purgatory was a place with a ceiling so low that they
could not walk without bending the head into the chest; and Hell was a
dungeon with little or no light, where they had only bread and water. The
pump lately standing in the street close by the Exchequer Coffee House,
and now carried to the opposite side of the way, was the pump of this last
prison, and to this day goes under the appellation of "Hell Pump."

To the credit of present manners, our modern jailors are in general men of
feeling, and wherever it is discovered that they act with cruelty they are
immediately dismissed from their office. This was not the case in former
days, for they were in general the most hard-hearted of men, and callous
even to the distresses of the aged, and crying infant at the breast.

The following Plate, pourtraying a Jailor of those times, will
sufficiently convey an idea of the morose gluttony of such a character. It
was copied from a rare tract, entitled, "Essayes and Characters of a
Prison and Prisoners, by Geffray Mynshul, of Grayes Inne, Gent. with new
additions, 1638." On the right side of the figure is written, "Those that
keepe me, I keepe; if can, will still." On the left hand, "Hee's a true
Jaylor strips the Divell in ill." The following extracts from this curious
work will shew the estimation in which the author held a Jailor:

"As soone as thou commest before the gate of the prison, doe but think
thou art entring into Hell, and it will extenuate somewhat of thy misery,
for thou shalt be sure not only to find Hell, but fiends and ugly
monsters, which with continuall torments will afflict thee; for at the
gate there stands Cerberus, a man in shew, but a dogge in nature, who at
thy entrance will fawne upon thee, bidding thee welcome, in respect of the
golden croft which he must have cast him; then he opens the doore with all
gentlenes, shewing thee the way to misery is very facile, and being once
in, he shuts it with such fury, that it makes the foundation shake, and
the doore and windows so barricadoed, that a man so loseth himself with
admiration that he can hardly finde the way out and be a sound man.

"Now for the most part your porter is either some broken cittizen who hath
plaid jack of all trades, some pander, broker, or hangman, that hath plaid
the knave with all men; and for the more certainty his emblem is a red
beard, to which sacke hath made his nose cousin-german.

"If marble-hearted Jaylors were so haplesse happy as to be mistaken, and
be made Kings, they would, instead of iron to their grates, have barres
made of men's ribs, Death should stand at doore for porter, and the Divell
every night come gingling of keyes, and rapping at doores to lock men up.

"The broker useth to receive pawnes, but when he hath the feathers he lets
the bird flye at liberty: but the Jaylor when he hath beene plum'd with
the prisoner's pawnes, detaines him for his last morsell.

"He feedes very strangely, for some say he eates cloakes, hats, shirts,
beds, and bedsteds, brasse, or pewter, or gold rings, plate, and the like;
but I say he is in his dyet more greedy than Cannibals, for they eate but
some parts of a man, but this devoures the whole body. The tenne-peny and
nine-peny ordinaries should never bee in the Fleet, Gatehouse, or the two
infernal Compters, for Hunger would lay the cloth, and Famine would play
the leane-fac'd serving-man to take away the trenchers."



This Plate exhibits one of those men who were sent out to beg broken meat
for the poor prisoners. It was copied from one of the sets published by
Overton in the reign of King Charles the Second. This custom, which
perhaps was as ancient as our Religious Houses, has been long done away by
an allowance of meat and bread having been made to those prisoners who are
destitute of support.

It was the business of such men to claim the attention of the public by
their cry of "Some broken breade and meate for ye poore prisonors! for the
Lord's sake pitty the poore!" This mendicant for the prisoners is also
noticed with the following London Cries, in a play entitled, "Tarquin and
Lucrece," viz. "A Marking Stone." "Breade and Meate for the poor
Prisoners." "Rock Samphire." "A Hassoc for your pew, or a Pesocke to
thrust your feet in." In former days the passenger was solicited in the
most melancholy and piteous manner by the poor prisoners. A tin box was
lowered by a wire from the windows of their prisons into the street, so as
to be even with the eye of the passenger. The confined persons, in hoarse,
but sometimes solemn tones, solicited the public to "Remember the poor
prisoners!" Not many persons can now recollect the tin boxes of this
description, suspended from the Gatehouse at Westminster, and under the
gloomy postern of old Newgate; but the custom was till lately continued at
the Fleet Prison: where a box of the above description was put out from a
grated window, even with the street, where one of the prisoners, who took
it by turns, implored the public to "Remember the poor Insolvent Debtors;"
but as the person was seen, and so near the street, the impression made
on the passenger had not that gloomy and melancholy air of supplication as
when uttered from a hollow voice at a distance, and in darkness; so that
hundreds passed by without attending to the supplicant.

[Illustration: _"Prison Basket Man"_]

Few of those gentlemen who come into office of Sheriff with a dashing
spirit quit their station without doing some, and, indeed, to do them
justice, essential service to the community. Sir Richard Phillips, when
sheriff, established the poor boxes put up on the outside of Newgate, with
a restriction that they should be opened in the presence of the Sheriffs,
and distributed by them to the poor prisoners, so that there could be no
embezzlement, and the donations thus rendered certain of being equally and
fairly divided among the proper objects, according to their distressing

The following extract is from a work published by Mr. Murray in 1815,
entitled, "Collections relative to Systematic Relief of the Poor," and
which perhaps may be the earliest notice of mendicants by proxy. Plutarch
notices a Rhodian custom, which is particularly mentioned by Phoenix of
Colophon, a writer of Iambics, who describes certain men going about to
collect donations for the crow, and singing or saying,

  "My good worthy masters, a pittance bestow,
  Some oatmeal, or barley, or wheat, for the crow;
  A loaf, or a penny, or e'en what you will,
  As fortune your pockets may happen to fill.
  From the poor man a grain of his salt may suffice,
  For your crow swallows all and is not over nice.
  And the man who can now give his grain and no more,
  May another day give from a plentiful store.
  Come, my lad, to the door, Plutus nods to our wish,
  And our sweet little mistress comes out with a dish.
  She gives us her figs, and she gives us a smile,
  Heav'n bless her! and guard her from sorrow and guile,
  And send her a husband of noble degree,
  And a boy to be danced on his grand-daddy's knee;
  And a girl like herself, all the joy of her mother,
  Who may one day present her with just such another.
  God bless your dear hearts all a thousand times o'er,
  Thus we carry our crow-song to door after door;
  Alternately chaunting we ramble along,
  And we treat all who give, or give not, with a song."

And the song ever concludes:

  "My good worthy masters, your pittance bestow,
  Your bounty, my good worthy mistresses, throw.
  Remember the crow! he is not over nice;
  Do but give as you can, and the gift will suffice."

[Illustration: _"Rats or Mice to kill"_]



There are two kinds of rats known in this country, the black, which was
formerly very common, but is now rarely seen, being superseded by the
large brown kind, commonly called the Norway rat. The depredations
committed by this little animal, which is about nine inches long, can be
well attested by the millers and feeders of poultry, as in addition to its
mischief it frequently carries off large quantities to its hiding place.

In 1813 the following computation was made: "The annual value of the
European Empire cannot be less than 25 millions sterling, and of this at
least one fiftieth part, upon the lowest calculation, is eaten and
destroyed by rats and mice; the public loss therefore is at least
500,000_l._ _per annum_, exclusive of the damage done in ships, in store
houses, and buildings of every kind."

The bite of the rat is keen, and the wound it inflicts painful and
difficult to heal, owing to the form of its teeth, which are long, sharp,
and irregular. It produces from twelve to eighteen at a litter, and were
it not that these animals destroy each other, the country would soon be
overrun with them.

Mr. Bewick observes, "It is a singular fact in the history of these
animals, that the skins of such of them as have been devoured in their
holes, have frequently been found curiously turned inside out, every part
being completely inverted, even to the ends of the toes."

In addition to this remark of Mr. Bewick, it may be mentioned, that though
the destruction of rats is so great among themselves, yet they are in some
degree attached to each other, and have even their sports and pastimes.
It is well known that a herd of rats will be defenders of their own holes,
and that when a strange brood trespass upon their premises, they are sure
to be set upon and devoured. They are active as the squirrel, and will,
like that animal, sit up and eat their food. They play at hide and seek
with each other, and have been known to hide themselves in the folds of
linen, where they have remained quite still until their playmates have
discovered them, in the same manner as kittens. Most readers will
recollect the fable where a young mouse suggests that the cat should have
a bell fastened to his neck, so that his companions might be aware of his
approach. This idea was scouted by one of their wiseheads, who asked who
was to tye the bell round the cat's neck? This experiment has actually
been tried upon a rat. A bell was fastened round his neck, and he was
replaced in his hole, with full expectation of his frightening the rest
away, but it turned out that instead of their continuing to be alarmed at
his approach, he was heard for the space of a year to frolick and scamper
with them. In China the Jugglers cause their rats and mice to dance
together to music, and oblige them to take leaps as we teach our cats. The
following is a copy of a handbill distributed in Cornhill a few years ago:

"A most wonderful Rat, the greatest natural curiosity ever seen in London.

"A gigantic Female Rat, taken near Somerset House: it is truly worthy the
inspection of the curious, its length being three feet three inches, and
its weight ten pounds three quarters; and twenty-four inches in
circumference. Any lady or gentleman purchasing goods to the amount of one
shilling or upwards, will have an opportunity of seeing it gratis, at No.
5, Sweeting's Alley, Cornhill."

Rats were made use of as a plague, see 1st Book of Kings, chap. v. Nich.
Poussin painted this subject, which has been engraved by Stephen Picart of
Rome, 1677.

In a curious tract, entitled "Green's Ghost," published in 1626, Watermen
are nicknamed water-rats; an appellation also bestowed on pirates by the
immortal bard of Avon.

The down of the musk-rat of Canada is used in the manufacture of hats.
From the tail of the Muscovy musk-rat is extracted a kind of musk, very
much resembling the genuine sort, and their skins are frequently laid
among clothes to preserve them from moths.

"The musk-rat is of all the small species larger and whiter than the
common. He exhales, as he moves, a very strong smell of musk, which
penetrates even the best inclosures. If, for example, one of the animals
pass over a row of bottles, the liquor they contain will be so strongly
scented with musk that it cannot be drunk. The writer has known tons of
wine touched by them so strongly infected, that it was with the greatest
difficulty, and by a variety of process, that they could be purged of this
smell. These rats are a great plague to all the country, and, if they once
get into a cellar or magazine, are very hard to destroy. Cats will not
venture to attack them, for fear probably of being suffocated by the
smell; nor will the European terrier hurt them." See Les Hindous, par E.
Baltazard Solvyns, tom. 4. Paris, 1812, folio.

The Norwegians of late years have the following effectual mode of getting
rid of their rats:

They singe the hair of one of them over a fire, and then let it loose; the
stench is so offensive to his comrades that they all immediately quit the
house, and are eventually destroyed by combating with other broods. This
expedient has become so general, that Norway is relieved of one of its
greatest pests. The above method was communicated to the writer by a
native, who wondered that our farmers had not adopted it.

It appears in that very masterly set of etchings by Simon Guillain, or
Guilini, from drawings made by Annibal Caracci, of the Cries of Bologna,
published in 1646, that the Rat-catcher had representations of rats and
mice painted upon a square cloth fastened to a pole like a flag, which he
carried across his shoulder.

The Chinese Rat and Mouse-killer carries a cat in a bag. In Ben Jonson's
time, the King's most excellent Mole-catcher lived in Tothill Street.

[Illustration: _"Marking Stones"_]



The rare wood-cut, from which the present etching was made, is one of the
curious set of twelve figures engraved in wood of the time of James the
First. Under the figure are the following lines:

  "Buy Marking Stones, Marking Stones buy,
  Much profit in their use doth lie:
  I've marking stones of colour red,
  Passing good,--or else black lead."

The cry of Marking Stones is also noticed in the play of "Tarquin and
Lucrece." These Marking Stones, as the verses above state, are either of a
red colour, or composed of black lead. They were used in marking of linen,
so that washing could not take the mark out. Every one knows that water
will not take effect upon black lead, particularly if the stick of that
material, which is denominated "a Marking Stone," be heated before it be
stamped. The stone, of a red colour, was probably of a material
impregnated with the red called "ruddle," a colour never to be washed out.
It is used by the graziers for the marking of their sheep, is of an oily
nature, and made in immense quantities, for the use of graziers, at the
Ruddle Manufactory, near the Nine Elms, on the Battersea Road. It was a
red known in the reign of Edward the Third, and much used by the painters
employed in the decorations of St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster.

About fifty years ago it was the custom of those persons who let lodgings
in St. Giles's, above the Two-penny admission, where sheets were afforded
at sixpence the night, to stamp their linen with sticks of marking stones
of ruddle, with the words "Stop Thief," so that, if stolen, the thief
should at once be detected and detained. For this, and many other curious
particulars respecting the lowest classes of the inhabitants of St. Giles
in the Fields, the writer is much indebted to his truly respectable
friend, the late William Packer, Esq. of Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury, and
afterwards of Great Baddow, in Essex, who was born, and resided for the
great part of his life, upon the spot. For the honour of this gentleman's
family, it may be here acknowledged that his father, who was also a truly
respectable man, was one of the promoters of the building of Middlesex
Hospital, which, before the erection of the present building, was an
establishment held in Windmill Street, leading from Tottenham Court Road
to Percy Chapel, in Charlotte Street, Rathbone Place. The house which the
Hospital occupied, standing on the South side of the street, has since
been made use of as a French charity school.

[Illustration: _"Buy a Brush"_]



The Engraving from which the accompanying Plate was copied was one of a
set published by Overton, but without date. Judging from the dress, it
must have been made either in the reign of King James the First or in that
of the succeeding monarch. The inscription over the figure is, "Buy a
Brush or a Table Book." The floors were not wetted, but rubbed dry, even
until they bore a very high polish, particularly when it was the fashion
to inlay staircases and floors of rooms with yellow, black, and brown
woods. On the landing places of the great staircase in the house built by
Lord Orford, now the Grand Hotel, at the end of King Street in Covent
Garden, such inlaid specimens are still remaining, in a beautiful state of
preservation. There are many houses of the nobility where the floors
consist of small pieces of oak arranged in tessellated forms. The room now
occupied by the servants in waiting, and that part of the house formerly a
portion of the old gallery, at Cleveland House, St. James's; the floors of
the state rooms of Montagu House, now the British Museum; and the floor of
the Library in St. Paul's Cathedral, all retain their tessellated forms.
These floors were rubbed by the servants, who wore brushes on their feet,
and they were, and indeed are, so highly polished, in some of the country
mansions, that in some instances they are dangerous to walk upon. This
mode of dry-rubbing rooms by affixing the brush to the feet, is still
practised in France, chiefly by men-servants.

The Table Book is of very ancient use. Shakspeare thus notices it in his
play of Hamlet:

  _Ham._ My tables: meet it is
         I set it down.

It was a book consisting of several small pieces of slate set in frames of
wood, fastened together with hinges, and closed, as a book for the pocket:
for a representation of one, with a pencil attached to a string, as used
in 1565, see Douce's "Illustrations of Shakspeare and of Ancient Manners,"
vol. II. p. 227. It was taken, says that writer, from Gesner's Treatise De
rerum fossilium figuris, &c. Tigur. 1565. The Almanacs of that time
likewise contained tables of a composition like asses skin. One of these
was in the possession of Mr. Douce.

It is a very curious fact that the farmers, graziers, and horse dealers,
use at this day a Table Book consisting of slates bound in wood, with a
pencil attached to it, exactly of the same make as that referred to as
used in 1565, and such are now regularly sold at the toy shops. We may
conclude that persons in the higher ranks of life used sheets of ivory put
together as a book, for we frequently meet with such, elegantly adorned
with clasps, of very old workmanship.

Howell, in his "Familiar Letters," 4to. p. 7, published 1645, says, "This
return of Sir Walter Raleigh from Guiana puts me in minde of a facetious
tale I read lately in Italian, (for I have a little of that language
already,) how Alphonso King of Naples sent a Moor, who had been his
captive a long time, to Barbary, to buy horses, and to return by such a
time. Now there was about the King a kinde of buffon or jester who had a
Table Book, wherein he was used to register any absurdity, or
impertinence, or merry passage, that happened about the Court. That day
the Moor was dispatched for Barbary, the said jester waiting upon the King
at supper, the King called for his journall, and askt what he had observed
that day; thereupon he produced his Table Book, and amongst other things
he read how Alphonso King of Naples had sent Beltran the Moor, who had
been a long time his prisoner, to Morocco, his own country, with so many
thousand crowns to buy horses. The King asked him 'why he inserted that?'
'Because,' said he, 'I think he will never come back to be a prisoner
again, and so you have lost both man and money.' 'But, if he do come, then
your jest is marr'd,' quoth the King. 'No, sir; for if he return, I will
blot out your name, and put him in for a fool.'"



The next plate is a copy from the same set of prints from which the
preceding one was taken, and has the following inscription engraved above

  "I have screenes if you desier,
  To keepe yr butey from ye fire."

It appears from the extreme neatness of this man, and the goods which he
exhibits for sale, that they were of a very superior quality, probably of
foreign manufacture, and possibly from Leghorn, from whence hats similar
to those on his head were first brought into England. These Leghorn hats
were originally imported and sold by our Turners, who generally had the
Leghorn hat for their sign. England certainly can boast of superiority in
almost every description of manufacture, over those of most parts of the
world; but it never successfully rivalled the Basket-makers and
Willow-workers of France and Holland, either for bleaching or weaving; nor
perhaps is it possible for any skill to exceed that of the French in their
present mode of making baskets and other such ware. Even the children's
rattles of the Dutch and French, surpass anything of the kind made in this
country. The willow is common in most parts of Holland, so that they have
a great choice of a selection of wood, and the females are taught the art
of twisting it at a very early age. It must be acknowledged, that the
natives of Hudson's Bay are very curious workers of baskets and other
useful articles made of the barks of trees, and even the most uncultivated
nations often display exquisite neatness in their modes of making them.
The French carry their basket ware either in small barrows or in little
carts, and sell them at so cheap a rate, by reason of the few duties they
have to pay to Government, that it would be impossible for an Englishman,
were he master of the art of producing them, to sell them for less than
ten times the sum.

[Illustration: _"I have Screenes if you desier to keepe yr Buty from ye

That very wonderful people the Chinese probably were the first who thought
of hand-screens to protect the face from the sun. We find them introduced
in their earliest delineations of costume. The feathered fans of our
Elizabeth might occasionally have been used as fire screens, in like
manner as those now imported from the East Indies, also composed of
feathers, and which frequently adorn our chimney pieces. It is possible,
however, that as our vendor of Fire-screens has particularly acquainted us
with the use of his screens, they might have been the first that were
introduced decidedly for that purpose.



The female vendor of Sausages exhibited in the following Plate, is of the
time of Charles II. and has here been preferred to a similar character
belonging to the preceding reign, her dress and general appearance being
far more picturesque. Under the original print are the following lines:

  "Who buys my Sausages! Sausages fine!
  I ha' fine Sausages of the best,
  As good they are as e'er was eat,
  If they be finely drest.
  Come, Mistris, buy this daintie pound,
  About a Capon rost them round."

Almost every county has some peculiar mode of making sausages, but as to
their general appearance they are tied up in links. There are several
sorts which have for many years upheld their reputation, such as those
made at Bewdley in Oxfordshire, at Epping, and at Cambridge, places
particularly famous for them. The sausages from Bewdley, Epping, and
Cambridge, are mostly sold by the poulterers, who are in general very
attentive in having them genuine. They are brought to Leadenhall, Newgate,
and other markets, neatly put up in large flat baskets, similar to those
in which fresh butter is sent to town. The Oxford gentlemen frequently
present their London friends with some of the sausage meat put up in neat
brown pans; this is fried in cakes, and is remarkably good.

The pork-shops of Fetter Lane have been for upwards of 150 years famous
for their sausages; indeed the pork-shops throughout London are
principally supported by a most extensive sale of sausages.

[Illustration: _"Sausages"_]

Ben Jonson, in his play of Bartholomew Fair, exhibits sausage stalls,
their contents being prime articles of refreshment at that very ancient
festival. In a very curious tract, entitled, "A Narrative of the Life of
Mrs. Charlotte Charke, (_youngest daughter_ of Colley Cibber, Esq.)
written by herself, the second edition, printed for W. Reeve, in Fleet
Street, 1759," the authoress, after experiencing some of the most curious
vicissitudes, in the midst of her greatest distress, says, "I took a neat
lodging in a street facing _Red Lyon Square_, and wrote a letter to Mr.
_Beard_, intimating to him the sorrowful plight I was in; and, in a
quarter of an hour after, my request was obligingly complied with by that
worthy gentleman, whose bounty enabled me to set forward to _Newgate
Market_, and bought a considerable quantity of pork at the best hand,
which I converted into sausages, and with my daughter set out laden with
each a burden as weighty as we could well bear; which, not having been
used to luggages of that nature, we found extremely troublesome. But
_Necessitas non habeat legem_, we were bound to that or starve.

"Thank heaven, our loads were like Æsop's, when he chose to carry the
bread, which was the weightiest burden, to the astonishment of his
fellow-travellers; not considering that his wisdom preferred it, because
he was sure it would lighten as it went: so did ours, for as I went only
where I was known, I soon disposed, among my friends, of my whole cargo;
and was happy in the thought, that the utmost excesses of my misfortunes
had no worse effect on me, than an industrious inclination to get a small
livelihood, without shame or reproach; though the Arch-Dutchess of our
family, who would not have relieved me with a halfpenny roll or a draught
of small-beer, imputed this to me as a crime; I suppose she was possessed
with the same dignified sentiments Mrs. Peachum is endowed with, and
to have prevented the disgrace, and in a humane, justifiable manner, have
preserved her own from that taint of cruelty I doubt she will never

The wretched vendors of sausages, who cared not what they made them of,
such as those about forty years back who fried them in cellars in St.
Giles's, and under gateways in Drury Lane, Field Lane, commonly called
"Food and Raiment Alley, or Thieving Lane, alias Sheep's Head Alley," with
all its courts and ramifications of Black Boy Alley, Saffron Hill,
Bleeding Heart Yard, and Cow Cross, were continually persecuting their
unfortunate neighbours, to whom they were as offensive as the melters of
tallow, bone burners, soap boilers, or cat-gut cleaners. This "Food and
Raiment Alley," so named from the cook and old clothes shops, was in
former days so dangerous to go through, that it was scarcely possible for
a person to possess his watch or his handkerchief by the time he had
passed this ordeal of infamy; and it is a fact, that a man after losing
his pocket-handkerchief, might, on his immediate return through the Lane,
see it exposed for sale, and purchase it at half the price it originally
cost him, of the mother of the young gentleman who had so dextrously
deprived him of it. Watches were, as they are now in many places in
London, immediately put into the crucible to evade detection.

[Illustration: _"New Elegy"_]



This figure was drawn and etched by the writer from an itinerant vendor of
Elegies, Christmas Carols, and Love Songs. His father and grandfather had
followed the same calling.

When this man was asked what particular event he recollected, his
information was principally confined to the Elegies he had sold. He seemed
anxious, however, to inform the public that in the year 1753 the quartern
loaf was sold at fourpence halfpenny, mutton was two-pence halfpenny a
pound, that porter was then three-pence a pot, and that the National Debt
was twenty-four millions. Notwithstanding this man's memory served him in
the above particulars, which perhaps he had repeated so often that he
could not forget them, yet he positively did not know his age; he said he
never troubled his head with that, for that his father told him if he only
mentioned the year of his birth any scholar could tell it. His father, he
observed, cried the Elegy of that notorious magistrate Sir Thomas de
Veil,[13] which went through nine editions, as there was hardly a thief or
strumpet that did not purchase one.

Hogarth is supposed to have introduced this magistrate in his "Woman
swearing a Child to a grave Citizen." In his Plate of "Night," the drunken
Freemason has also been supposed to be Sir Thomas de Veil. This man had
rendered himself so obnoxious by his intrigues with women, and his
bare-faced partialities in screening the opulent, that the executors, who
were afraid of the coffin being torn to pieces by the mob, privately
conveyed it to a considerable distance from Bow Street by three o'clock in
the morning.

It was formerly not only the custom to print Elegies on the great people,
but on all those in the lowest class of life who had rendered themselves
conspicuous as public characters. Indeed we may recollect the Elegies to
the memory of Sam House, the political tool of Mr. Fox among the vulgar
part of his voters, and also that to the memory of Henry Dimsdale, the
muffin man, nicknamed Sir Harry Dimsdale, the Mayor of Garratt, who
succeeded the renowned Sir Jeffrey Dunstan, commonly called Old Wigs, from
his being a purchaser of those articles. The last Elegy was to the memory
of the lamented Princess Charlotte, and it was then that the portrait of
the above-mentioned Elegy-vender was taken.

With respect to his Christmas Carols, he said they had varied almost every
year in their bordered ornaments; and the writer regrets the loss of a
collection of Christmas Carols from the time of this man's grandfather,
which, had he been fortunate enough to have made his drawing of the above
vendor only three days before, he could have purchased for five shillings.
The collectors in general of early English woodcuts may not be aware that
there were printed Christmas Carols so early as Queen Mary the First. The
writer, when a boy, detected several patches of one that had been fastened
against the wall of the Chapel of St. Edmond in Westminster Abbey. It had
marginal woodcut illustrations, which reminded him of those very
interesting blocks engraved for "Hollinshed's Chronicle." It appears that
some part of this curious Carol was remaining when Mr. Malcolm wrote his
description of the above Chapel for his Work on London. (Vol. I. p. 144.)

Love Songs, however old they might be, were pronounced by our
Elegy-vender to be always saleable among the country people. Robert
Burton, in his "Anatomy of Melancholy," part 3, sect. 2, speaking of love
songs, says, "As Carmen, Boyes, and Prentises, when a new song is
published with us, go singing that new tune still in the streets, they
continually acted that tragical part of _Perseus_, and in every man's
mouth was _O, Cupid! Prince of Gods and Men!_ pronouncing still like
stage-players, _O, Cupid!_ they were so possessed all with that rapture,
and thought of that pathetical love speech, they could not a long time
after forget, or drive it out of their minds, but, _O, Cupid! Prince of
Gods and Men!_ was ever in their mouths."

In the second volume, page 141, of Shenstone's Works, the author says,
"The ways of ballad singers, and the cries of halfpenny pamphlets,
appeared so extremely humourous, from my lodgings in Fleet Street, that it
gave me pain to observe them without a companion to partake. For, alas!
laughter is by no means a solitary entertainment."



The repeated victories gained by England over her enemies, and her
unbounded liberality to them when in distress, not only by her pecuniary
contributions, but by allowing this country to be their general seat of
refuge during their own commotions, encouraged the ignorant among them
still to continue in their belief that the streets of our great city were
paved with gold. The consequence has been, that the number of idle
foreigners who have been tempted to quit their homes have increased the
vagrants who now infest our streets with their learned mice and chattering
monkies, to the great annoyance of those passengers who do not contribute
to their exhibitions; for it is their practice not only to let the animals
loose to the extent of a long string, but to encourage them to run up to
the balconies, oftentimes to the great terror of the families who have
disregarded their impertinent importunities.

The writer of this work once reprimanded a French organist for throwing
his dancing mice upon a nursery maid, because she did not contribute to
reward him for the amusement they afforded her young master.

Among the various foreigners thus visiting us to make their fortunes is
Anatony Antonini, a native of Lucca in Tuscany, from which place come most
of those fellows who carry images and play the organ about our streets. He
is exhibited in the annexed etching, with his show board of artificial
flowers, "All in full bloom!" constructed of silk and paper, with wires
for their stalks. The birds perched on their branches are made of wax,
cast from plaster of Paris moulds. They are gaily painted and
varnished, and in some instances so thin that their bodies are quite

[Illustration: _All in full bloom_]

The custom of casting figures in wax is very ancient, especially in Roman
Catholic countries, where they represent the Virgin and Child and other
sacred subjects as articles of devotion for the poorer sort of people who
cannot afford to purchase those carved in ivory. It is said that Mrs.
Salmon's exhibition of wax-work in Fleet Street, whose sign of a Salmon
was noticed by Addison in the Spectator, owes its origin to a
schoolmistress, the wife of one of Henry the Seventh's body guards. This
woman distributed little wax dolls as rewards to the most deserving of her
scholars, and, it is reported, brought the art from Holland.

Some few years ago a very interesting exhibition of artificial flowers was
made in Suffolk Street, Charing Cross, by a female of the name of Dards,
who had most ingeniously produced many hundreds of the most beautiful
flowers from fishes' bones, which, when warm, she twisted into shapes. The
leaves were made from the skins of soles, eels, &c. which were stained
with proper colours. The flowers of the lily of the valley were
represented by the bones of the turbot which contain the brain, and were
so complete a deception that they were often mistaken for a bunch of the
real flowers. This exhibition did not answer the expectation of Mrs.
Dards, as few persons could believe it possible that fishes' bones were
capable of being converted into articles of such elegance.

The ribs of the whale were frequently erected at the entrances of our tea
gardens, and many remained within memory at the Spring Gardens, Chelsea;
Cromwell's Gardens, Brompton; Copenhagen House, &c. The inhabitants of the
coast of Mechran, who live mostly upon fish, build their houses of the
rudest materials, frequently of the large fish that are thrown on the

About thirty-five years ago, there was another very singular "All
blooming" man, a black with wooden legs, who carried natural flowers about
the streets. His trick to claim attention was remarkable, as he generally
contrived to startle passengers with his last vociferation. His cry was,
"All blooming! blooming! blooming!!! all alive! alive!! alive!!!"

It is notable fact that blacks, when they become public characters in our
streets, as they are more or less masters of humour, display their wit to
the amusement of the throng, and thereby make a great deal of money. They
always invent some novelty to gain the attention of the crowd. One of
these fellows, under the name of Peter, held a dialogue between himself
and his master, nearly to the following effect:

_Master._ "Oh, Peter, you very bad boy; you no work; you lazy
dog."--_Peter._ "Oh massa, 'give me this time, Peter Peter do so no more;
Peter Peter no more run away."--This duet he accompanied with a guitar, in
so humourous a style, that he was always sure to please his audience. He
would, at the completion of his song, pass himself through a hoop, and,
while holding a stick, twist his arms round his body in a most
extraordinary manner. His last performance was that of placing his head
backwards between his legs and picking up a pin with his mouth from the
ground, without any assistance from hands, his arms being folded round his
body before he commenced his exhibition.

The Chinese florist carries his flowers in two flat baskets suspended from
a pole placed across his shoulders, the whole being similar to our scales
with their beam.

[Illustration: _Old Chairs to mend_]



The Plate exhibits the figure of Israel Potter, one of the oldest menders
of chairs now living, who resides in Compton's Buildings, Burton Crescent,
and sallies forth by eight o'clock in the morning, not with a view of
getting chairs to mend; for, from the matted mass of dirty rushes which
have sometimes been thrown across his shoulders for months together,
without ever being once opened, it must be concluded that his cry of "Old
chairs to mend" avails him but little; the fact is, that like many other
itinerants, he goes his rounds and procures broken meat and subsistence
thus early in the morning for his daily wants.

The seating of chairs with rushes cannot be traced further back than a
century, as the chairs in common as well as public use in the reign of
Queen Anne had cane seats and backs. Previously to that time, and even in
the days of Elizabeth, cushion seats and stuffed backs were made use of.

In the reign of Henry the Eighth, and in remoter times, the chairs were
made entirely of wood, and in many instances the backs were curiously
carved, either with figures, grotesque heads, or foliage. Most of the
early chairs had arms for supporting elbows, and which were also carved.
In the Archæologia, published by the Society of Antiquaries, several
representations of ancient chairs are given.[14] Of the Royal thrones, the
reader will find a curious succession, from the time of Edward the
Confessor to that of James the First, exhibited in the great seals of
England, representations of most of which have been published by Speed in
his History of Great Britain, and in Sandford's Genealogical History of

The cry of "Old Chairs to mend!" is frequently uttered with great
clearness, and occasionally with some degree of melody. Suett, the late
facetious Comedian, took the cry of "Old Chairs to mend," in an interlude,
entitled, the "Cries of London," performed some years since in the Little
Theatre in the Haymarket, and repeated the old lines of

  "Old Chairs to mend! Old Chairs to mend!
  If I had the money that I could spend,
  I never would cry Old Chairs to mend."[15]

The late John Bannister, who performed in the same piece, took the cry of
"Come here's your scarlet ware, long and strong scarlet garters, twopence
a pair, twopence a pair, twopence a pair!" which was a close imitation of
a little fellow who made a picturesque appearance about the streets with
his long scarlet garters streaming from the end of a pole.

The late eccentric actor Baddeley, who left a sum of money to purchase a
cake to be eaten by his successors every Twelfth Night, in the Green-room
of Drury Lane Theatre, took the cry of "Come buy my shrimps, come buy my
shrimps, prawns, very large prawns, a wine-quart a penny periwinkles."

The late Dr. Owen informed the present writer that he had heard that the
author of "God save the King" caught the tones either from a man who cried
"Old Chairs to mend," or from another who cried "Come buy my door-mats;"
and it is well known that one of Storace's most favourite airs in "No Song
no Supper," was almost wholly constructed from a common beggar's chaunt.

[Illustration: _Prickle Maker_]



The man whose figure affords the subject of the next Plate is a journeyman
Prickle-maker, and works in a cellar on the western side of the Haymarket.
A prickle is a basket used by the wine-merchants for their empty bottles;
it is made of osiers unpeeled and in their natural state, and the basket
is made loose with open work, so that when it is filled with bottles it
may ride easy in the wine-merchant's caravan, and without the least risk
of breaking them. The maker of prickles begins the formation of the bottom
of the basket by placing the osier twigs in the form of a star flat upon
the ground; he then with another twig commences his weaving by twisting it
under and over the ends of the twigs which meet in the centre of the star,
and so he goes on to the extent of the circumference of the intended
prickle; he then bends up the surrounding twigs, which are in a moist
state, and binds them in the middle and the top, and thus the prickle is
finished. The formation of hampers for wine-merchants' sieves, and baskets
for the gardeners and fishmongers, and indeed that of all other basket
work, is begun in the same way as the prickle. The basket-maker is seated
upon a broad flat stage consisting of at least four boards clamped
together, touching the ground at one end, on which his feet are placed,
but elevated about six feet. Upon the end where he is seated free air
passes under him, and thus he takes less cold from the ground of the

In Lapland large baskets are made by two persons, a man and a woman. Their
mode of forming their baskets in every particular is similar to that of
the English. On the banks of the Thames, from Fulham to Staines, there
were formerly numerous basket-makers' huts, but opulent persons, anxious
to have houses on those delightful spots, purchased the ground on the
expiration of the leases, and erected fashionable villas on their site.
The inducement for the basket-makers occupying the sides of the Thames,
was the great supply of osiers or young willows which grow on the aits,
particularly at Twickenham and Staines.

The usual price of each prickle is two shillings and three pence.
Notwithstanding the numbers of osiers grown in this country, the produce
is not sufficient, as an extensive importation of twigs is annually made
from Holland, where immense quantities of baskets of every description are
made. The Dutch are particularly neat and famous for their willow sieves,
which find a ready market in every country.

The reader may probably be amused with a list of those trades exercised in
Holland, which in their pronunciation and meaning resemble the same in
this country, beginning with the

  Sieve Maker, which in Dutch is Zeevmaker.
  Baker                          Bakker.
  Scale Maker                    Balansmaker.
  Book Binder                    Boekbinder.
  Brewer                         Broonwer.
  Glass-blower                   Glasblazer.
  Glazier                        Glazemaker.
  Goldsmith                      Goudsmit.
  Musical Instrument Maker       Instrumentmaker.
  Lanthorn Maker                 Lantaarnmaker.
  Paper Maker                    Papiermaker.
  Perriwig Maker                 Paruikmaker.
  Pump Maker                     Pompemaker.
  Potter,                        Pottebaker.
  Shoemaker                      Schoenmaker.
  Smith                          Smit.
  Schoolmaster                   Schoolmeester.
  Waggon Maker                   Wagenmaker.
  Weaver                         Weever.
  Sail Maker                     Zailmaker.



At about a mile from the back of Jack Straw's Castle, Hampstead Heath,
through one of the prettiest lanes near London, the traveller will find
that beautifully rural spot called "Child's Hill." This was the favourite
walk of Gainsborough and Loutherburgh, both of whom occasionally had
lodgings near the Heath for the purpose of study; and perhaps no place
within one hundred miles of London affords better materials for the
landscape painter's purpose than Hampstead Heath and its vicinity,
particularly that most delightful spot above described, where the Pottery
stands, which afforded the subject of the ensuing Plate.

At this Pottery, which is placed in a sequestered dell, the moulds used by
the sugar bakers for casting their loaves of sugar in, are made. They are
of different sizes, turned by the moulder, with the assistance of a boy,
who is employed in keeping the lathe in motion. The clay is remarkably
good, and burns to a rich red colour.

[Illustration: _Sugar-Mould Pottery Child's Hill, Hendon_]

The following is a list of the places where sugar bakers' moulds are made,
for they are not to be had at the Potteries in general; viz. that
above-mentioned, at Child's Hill, near Hampstead Heath, in the parish of
Hendon; one at Brentford; one at Clapham; one at Greenwich; three at
Deptford; and two at Plumsted. Though the clay varies in texture, and
likewise in colour in some slight degree, when baked, on almost every spot
where a Pottery is erected, yet in no instance does it so peculiarly
differ as at the Pottery in High Street, Lambeth, leading to Vauxhall. The
clay principally used at that place is preferred by the sculptors for
their models of busts, figures, and monuments. It never stains the
fingers, and is of so beautiful a texture that all parts of the model may
be executed with it, in the most minute degree of sharpness and spirit;
and, when baked, it is not of that fiery red colour, like a tile, but
approaches nearer to the tone of flesh, has a beautiful bloom with it, and
is very similar, though not quite so dark, as those fine specimens of
Terracottas in the Towneley Gallery, in the British Museum. The great
sculptors Roubiliac and Rysbrach not only constantly preferred it, but
brought it into general use among the artists.

At the Lambeth Pottery, the first imitations of the Dutch square white
glazed tiles, decorated with figures of animals and other ornaments,
painted in blue, and sometimes purple, were made in England. The fashion
of thus decorating the backs of chimnies was introduced into this country
soon after the arrival of William the Third, and continued till about
fifty years ago. Chimnies thus ornamented are frequently to be met with in
country houses, particularly in bed-rooms; but in London, where almost
every body enters on a new fashion as soon as it appears, there are fewer
specimens left. The chimney of the room in Bolt Court, in which Dr.
Johnson died, was decorated with these tiles, most of the subjects of
which were taken from Barlow's etchings of Æsop's Fables. Dinner services
were produced of the same material, and painted blue or purple, like the
above tiles. Sir James Thornhill, the painter of the pictures which adorn
the dome of St. Paul's, and Paul Ferg, when young men, were employed at
the Chelsea China manufactory, and there are specimens of plates and
dishes painted by them now and then to be met with in the cabinets of the
curious. At Mrs. Hogarth's sale (Sir James Thornhill's daughter), Lord
Orford purchased twelve dinner plates painted by her father; the subjects
were the Signs of the Zodiac, and they are preserved at Strawberry Hill.

In common ware, jugs, handbasins, dinner services, &c. are not painted,
but printed, the mode of executing which is rather curious. Trees,
hay-makers, cows, farm-houses, windmills, &c. are engraved on
copper-plates, which are filled with blue colour (smalt). Impressions from
them are taken on common blotting paper, through the rolling press. These
impressions are immediately put on the earthen ware, and when the
blotting-paper is dry, it is washed off, and the blue colour remains upon
the dish, &c.

[Illustration: _Staffordshire Ware_]



Of all the tradesmen who supply the domestic table, there are none more
frequently called upon than the earthen-ware man. In great families, where
constant cooking is going on, the dust-bin seldom passes a day without
receiving the accidents to which a scullery is liable, nor is there, upon
an average, a private family in England that passes a week without some
misfortune to their crockery. Many householders set down at least ten
pounds a year for culinary restorations; so that the itinerant
Staffordshire Ware vendor, exhibited in the following plate, is sure to
sell something in every street he enters, particularly since that ware has
been brought by water to Paddington, whence he and many others, who go all
over the town to dispose of their stock in baskets, are regularly
supplied; and in consequence of the safety and cheapness of the passage,
they are enabled to dispose of their goods at so moderate a rate that they
can undersell the regular shopkeeper.

Staffordshire is the principal place in England for the produce of earthen
ware; the manufactories cover miles of land, and the minds of the people
appear to be solely absorbed in their business. Coals cost them little but
the labour of fetching; they work from twelve to fourteen hours a day, and
those who choose to perform what they call over-time, are employed sixteen
hours in each day. The men have for twelve hours in each day, being common
time, seven shillings per week; the women four shillings, and the
children, who turn the lathes, two shillings and sixpence. These people
are so constantly at work and perpetually calling out "turn," when they
wish it to go faster, to the boy who gives motion to the lathe, that it is
said that those who fall into intoxication are sure, however drunk they
may be, to call to the boy to turn, whether at work or not. There are men
who make plates, others who make basins, &c.; and those who make jugs, tea
and milkpots, have what they call handle-men, persons whose sole business
it is to prepare the handles and stick them on. Their divisions of land,
similar to banks or hedges, as well as their roads, for miles, are wholly
constructed of their broken earthen-ware.

They have their regular packers, who pique themselves on getting in a
dozen of plates more than usual in an immense basket.

When they meet with a clay that differs in colour from that they have been
using, they will apply themselves most readily to make up a batch of
plates, basins, or tea-cups, well knowing the public are pleased with a
new colour; and it is a curious fact that there are hundreds of varieties
of tints produced from the different pits used by these Staffordshire
manufactories. There are men whose business it is to glaze the articles,
and others who pencil and put on the brown or white enamel with which the
common yellow jug is streaked or ornamented. In the brown or yellow baking
dishes used by the common people, the dabs of colour of brown and yellow
are laid on by children, with sticks, in the quickest way imaginable. The
profits of earthen-ware in general are very great, as indeed they ought to
be, considering the brittleness of the article, and the number of
accidents they are continually meeting with, as is demonstrated by their
hedge-rows and roads.

An article that is sold for fourpence in London, costs but one penny at
the manufactory.

[Illustration: _Hard Metal Spoons_]



William Conway, of Crab Tree Row, Bethnall Green, is the person from whom
the following etching was made. He was born in 1752, in Worship Street,
which spot was called Windmill Hill, and first started with or rather
followed his father as an itinerant trader, forty-seven years ago. This
man has walked on an average twenty-five miles a day six days in the week,
never knew a day's illness, nor has he once slept out of his own bed. His
shoes are made from the upper leather of old boots, and a pair will last
him six weeks. He has eleven walks, which he takes in turn, and these are
all confined to the environs of London; no weather keeps him within, and
he has been wet and dry three times in a day without taking the least

His spoons are made of hard metal, which he sells, or exchanges for the
old ones he had already sold; the bag in which he carries them is of the
thickest leather, and he has never passed a day without taking some money.
His eyes are generally directed to the ground, and the greatest treasure
he ever found was a one pound note; when quarters of guineas were in
currency, he once had the good fortune to pick up one of them.

He never holds conversation with any other itinerant, nor does he drink
but at his dinner; and it is pleasant to record, that Conway in his walks,
by his great regularity, has acquired friends, several of whom employ him
in small commissions.

His memory is good, and among other things he recollects Old Vinegar, a
surly fellow so called from his brutal habits. This man provided sticks
for the cudgel players, whose sports commenced on Easter Monday, and were
much frequented by the Bridewell-boys. He was the maker of the rings for
the boxers in Moorfields, and would cry out, after he had arranged the
spectators by beating their shins, "Mind your pockets all round." The name
of Vinegar has been frequently given to crabbed ringmakers and boxers.
Ward, in his "London Spy," thus introduces a Vinegar champion:

  "Bred up i' th' fields of Lincoln's Inn,
    Where _Vinegar_ reigns master;
  The forward youth doth thence begin
  A broken head to loose or win,
    For shouts, or for a plaister."

It is to be hoped that this industrious man has saved some little to
support him when his sinews are unable to do their duty; for it would be
extremely hard, that a man who has conducted himself with such honesty,
punctuality, and rigid perseverance, should be dependent on the parish,
particularly as he declares, and Conway may be believed, that he never got
drunk in his life. The present writer was much obliged to this man for a
deliverance from a mob. He had when at Bow commenced a drawing of a
Lascar, and before he had completed it, he found himself surrounded by
several of their leaders, who were much enraged, conceiving that he was
taking a description of the man's person in order to complain of him.
Conway happened to come up at the moment, and immediately exclaimed, "Dear
heart, no, this gentleman took my picture off the other day, he only does
it for his amusement; I know where he lives; he don't want to hurt the
man;" on hearing which speech, a publican kindly took upon him to appease
the Lascars.

[Illustration: _Dancing Dolls_]



By all the aged persons with whom the author has conversed, it is agreed
that from the time of Hogarth to the present day the street strollers with
their Dancing Dolls on a board have not appeared.

The above artist, whose eye glanced at every description of nature, and
whose mind was perpetually alive to those scenes which would in any way
illustrate his various subjects, has introduced, in his inimitable print
of Southwark Fair, the figure of a little man, at that time extremely well
known in London, who performed various tricks with two dancing dolls
strung to a flat board; his music was the bagpipes, on which he played
quick or slow tunes, according to the expression he wished to give his
puppets. These dolls were fastened to a board, and moved by a string
attached to his knee, as appears in the figure of the boy represented in
the present Plate. Since the late Peace, London has been infested with ten
or twelve of these lads, natives of Lucca, whose importunities were at
first made with all their native impudence and effrontery, for they
attempted to thrash the English boys that stood between their puppets and
the spectators, but in this they so frequently were mistaken that they
behave now with a little more propriety.

The sounds they produce from their drums during the action of their dolls
are full of noise and discord, nor are they masters of three notes of
their flute. Lucca is also the birth place of most of those people who
visit England to play the street organ, carry images, or attend dancing
bears or dolls. In Italy there are many places which retain their
peculiar trades and occupations; as for example, one village is inhabited
by none but shoemakers, whose ancestors resided in the same place and
followed a similar employment.

[Illustration: _The Dancing Ballad-Singer with his Sprig of Sillelah and
Shamrock so green_]



The annexed etching was taken from Thomas M'Conwick, an Irishman, who
traverses the western streets of London, as a vendor of matches, and, like
most of his good-tempered countrymen, has his joke or repartee at almost
every question put to him, duly attempered with native wit and humour.
M'Conwick sings many of the old Irish songs with excellent effect, but
more particularly that of the "Sprig of Shillelah and Shamrock so green,"
dances to the tunes, and seldom fails of affording amusement to a crowded

The throne at St. James's was first used on the Birth Day of Queen
Charlotte, after the union of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland,
and the Shamrock, the badge of the Irish nation, is introduced among the
decorations upon it.

M'Conwick assured me, when he came to London, that the English populace
were taken with novelty, and that by either moving his feet, snapping his
fingers, or passing a joke upon some one of the surrounding crowd, he was
sure of gaining money. He carries matches as an article of sale, and
thereby does not come under the denomination of a pauper. Now and then, to
please his benefactors, he will sport a bull or two, and when the laugh is
increasing a little too much against him, will, in a low tone, remind them
that bulls are not confined to the lower orders of Irish. The truth of
this assertion may be seen in Miss Edgworth's Essay on Irish bulls,
published 1803, from which the following is an extract:

"When Sir Richard Steele was asked how it happened that his countrymen
made so many bulls, he replied, 'It is the effect of climate, sir; if an
Englishman were born in Ireland, he would make as many.'" However, great
mistakes are sometimes made by the wisest of the English; for it is
reported of Sir Isaac Newton, that after he had caused a great hole to be
made in his study door for his cat to creep through, he had a small one
for the kitten.

When the present writer gave this Irishman a shilling for standing for his
portrait, he exclaimed, "Thanks to your honour, an acre of performance is
worth the whole land of promise."

[Illustration: _"Ginger Bread Nuts"_]



The etching in front of the present Plate, was taken from Daniel Clarey,
an industrious Irishman, well known to the London schoolboy as a
gingerbread-nut lottery office keeper. Dan had fought for his country as a
seaman, and though from some unlucky circumstance he is not entitled to
the comforts of Greenwich Hospital, still he boasts of the honour of
losing his leg in an engagement on the "Salt Seas." Rendered almost
destitute by the loss of his limb, he was nevertheless not wanting in wit
to gain a livelihood, and became a vendor of gingerbread-nuts, which he
disposed of by way of lottery, and humourously calls this employment,
"Jack's last Shift." Though Dan is inferior in some respects to his lively
countryman McConwick, who has afforded theme for the preceding pages, yet
he is blessed with a sufficient memory to recollect what he has heard, and
has persuasive eloquence enough to assure the boys that his lottery is no
"South Sea Bubble," where, as he tells them, "not even saw-dust was
produced, when deal boards were promised; but that every adventurer in his
scheme is sure of having a prize from seven to one hundred nuts, there
being no blanks to damp the courage of any enterprizing youth; that some
of his gingerbread shot are so highly seasoned that they are as hot as the
noble Nelson's balls when he last peppered the jackets of England's foes."
The manner of obtaining these gingerbread prizes is as follows:--The
hollow box held by Clarey has twenty-seven holes variously numbered, and
any one of the strings at the bottom of the box being pulled, causes a
doll's head to appear at the hole, which decides, according to its number,
the good or ill fortune of the halfpenny adventurer. He acknowledges to
his surrounding visitors that he "knows nothing of the lingo of his
predecessors, the famed Tiddy Dolls of their day, but that he is quite
certain that if _their_ gingerbread rolled down the throat like a
wheel-barrow, _his_ nuts are far superior, for that, should any one of his
noble friends prove so fortunate as to draw a prize of one hundred of
them, he would be entitled to those of half the usual size, so delicately
small that they would be no bigger than the quack doctor's pills, who
chalks his name on the walls far and near about London; and as for the
innocency of these little pills, he had been assured by a leading member
of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, who was very fond of tasting
them, that they would do no harm to an _infant babe_, no, not even if they
were given it on a Sunday within church time." This mode of gulling the
boys with nuts of half the size, if they won a double prize, was equalled
by a well-known churchwarden, within these few years, who, upon his coming
into office, ordered threepenny loaves to be made instead of sixpenny, so
that he might be respectfully saluted by as many more poor people as he
passed through the church-yard on a Sunday after his distribution, and
thereby obtain popularity. Nor is the device in question very dissimilar
to the mode adopted in some modern private lotteries, where there are no
blanks to chagrin the purchasers.

The simpleton who attempts to sell gingerbread-nuts gains but little
custom compared with the man of dashing wit; and there have been many of
the latter description on the town within memory, particularly, about
thirty-five years ago, a short red-nosed fellow in a black bushy wig, who
trundled a wheel-barrow through St. Martin's Court, Cranbourn Alley, and
the adjacent passages. This man, who was attended by a drab of a wife to
take the money, was master of much drollery; he would contrast the heated
polities of the day with the mildness of his gingerbread, to the no small
amusement of Mr. Sheridan, who, when on his way to the election meetings
held at the Shakspeare tavern, in favour of his friend Mr. Fox, was once
seen to smile and pouch this fellow a shilling; that distinguished mark of
approbation from the author of the "School for Scandal" being gained by
this gingerbread man by means of the following couplet:

  "May Curtis, with his "Speedy Peace, and soon,"
  Send gingerbread up to the man in the moon."

This fellow would frequently boast of his having danced Horne Tooke upon
his knee when he was shopman to that gentleman's father, then a poulterer,
or, in genteeler terms, a "Turkey Merchant," called by the vulgar a
"Feather Butcher," at the time he lived in Newport Market.

This humourist had his pensioners like the dog and cat's meat man, nor
would he ever pass any of them without distributing his broken gingerbread
and bits of biscuit: he was particularly kind to one man, who may yet be
within the recollection of many persons; he was short in stature carried a
wallet, and wore a red cap, and would begin his walk through May's
Buildings at six in the evening and arrive safely by nine at Bedford Bury.
In his progress he would repeat the song of "Taffy was a Welchman," upon
an average, eight times within an hour; and, in order that his singing
might be of a piece with his crawling movements, his lengthened tones were
made to pass through his nose in so inarticulate a manner as frequently to
induce boys to shake him from a supposed slumber. His name was Richard
Richards, but from his extreme sloth he was nicknamed by his
broken-biscuit benefactor "Mr. Step-an-hour." The money made by the
gingerbread heroes is hardly credible; however, it is of little use, as
the profits are generally spent in gin and hot suppers.

[Illustration: _Chick Weed_]



The subject of this Plate is George Smith, a Brush-maker out of employ, in
consequence of frequent visitations of the rheumatism. This man, finding
affliction increase upon him in so great a degree as to render him
incapable of pursuing his usual occupation, determined on selling
chickweed, an article easily procured without money, and for which there
is a certainty of meeting at least one customer in almost every street, as
there are scarcely three houses together without their singing birds.

After a very short trial of his new calling, he found he had no occasion
to cry his chickweed, for that if he only stood with it before the house,
so that the birds could see it, the noise they made was sufficient, as
they generally attracted the notice of some one of the family, who soon
perceived that the little songsters were chirping at the chickweed man.
This can readily be believed by all those who keep birds, for the breaking
of a single seed will elate them.

Bryant, in his "Flora Diætetica," p. 94, speaking of the article in
question, says, "This is a small annual plant, and a very troublesome weed
in gardens. The stalks are weak, green, hairy, succulent, branched, about
eight inches long, and lodge on the ground. The leaves are numerous,
nearly oval, sharp-pointed, juicy, of the colour of the stalks, and stand
on longish footstalks, having membranous bases, which are furnished with
long hairs at their edges. The flowers are produced at the bosoms of the
leaves, on long slender pedicles; they are small and white, consist of
five split petals each, and contain five stamina and three styles. The
leaves of this plant have much the flavour of corn-sallad, and are eaten
in the same manner. They are deemed refrigorating and nutritive, and
excellent for those of a consumptive habit of body. The plant formerly
stood recommended in the shops as a vulnerary."

Buchan says of groundsel, "This weed grows commonly in gardens, fields,
and upon walls, and bears small yellow flowers and downy seeds; it does
not often grow above eight inches high: the stalk is round, fleshy,
tolerably straight, and green or reddish; the leaves are oblong,
remarkably broad at the bases, blunt, and deeply indented at the edges;
the flowers grow in a kind of long cups, at the top of the stalks and
branches. It flowers through all the milder months of the year. The juice
of this herb, taken in ale, is esteemed a gentle and very good emetic,
bringing on vomiting without any great irritation or pain. It assists
pains in the stomach, evacuates phlegm, cures the jaundice, and destroys
worms. Applied externally, it is said to cleanse the skin of foul

[Illustration: _"Bilberries"_]



Bilberries are a modern article of sale, and were first brought to London
about forty years ago by countrymen, who appeared in their smock-frocks,
with every character of rusticity. In the course of a little time,
bilberries were so eagerly bought that it induced many persons to become
vendors, and they are now brought to the markets as a regular article of
consumption for the season.

These berries mostly grow in Hertfordshire, from whence indeed they are
brought to town in very high perfection, and are esteemed by the housewife
as wholesome food when made into a pudding; and, though usually sold at
fourpence a pint, they are sometimes admitted to the genteel table in a

Dr. Buchan has the following remarks on the Bilberry-bush: he says that it
is "a little tough shrubby plant, common in our boggy woods, and upon wet
heaths. The stalks are tough, angular, and green; the leaves are small;
they stand singly, not in pairs, and are broad, short, and indented about
the edges. The flowers are small but pretty, their colour is a faint red,
and they are hollow like a cup. The berries are as large as the biggest
pea; they are of a blackish colour, and of a pleasant taste. A syrup made
of the juice of bilberries, when not over ripe, is cooling and binding."

Among the former Cries of London, those of Elderberries, Dandelion, &c.
were not unfrequent, and each had in its turn physicians as well as
village doctresses to recommend them. "The inner part of the
Elderberry-tree," says Dr. Buchan, "is reputed to cure dropsies, when
taken in time, frequently repeated and long persevered in; a cooling
ointment is made by boiling the flowers in lard till they are crisp, and
then straining it off; the juice of the berries boiled down with sugar, or
without, till it comes to the consistence of honey, is the celebrated rob
of elder, highly extolled in colds and sore throats, though of late years
it seems to have yielded to the preparations of black currants. Wine is
made from elderberries, which somewhat resembles Frontiniac in flavour."

The same author says of Dandelion, that "the root is long, large, and
white within; every part of the plant is full of milky juice, but most of
all the root, from which, when it is broken, it flows plentifully, and is
bitterish, but not disagreeable to the taste."

The leaves are sometimes eaten as sallad when very young, and in some
parts of the Continent they are blanched like celery for this purpose;
taken this way, in sufficient quantity, they are a remedy for the scurvy.

Bryant, in his "Flora Diætetica," page 103, says, "The young tender leaves
are eaten in the spring as lettuce, they being much of the same nature,
except that they are rather more detergent and diuretic. Boerhaave greatly
recommended the use of dandelion in most chronical distempers, and held it
capable of resolving all kinds of coagulations, and most obstinate
obstructions of the viscera, if it were duly continued. For these purposes
the stalks may be blanched and eaten as celery."

There is a fashion in the Cries of London as there are "tides in the
affairs of men," particularly in articles that are used as purifiers of
the blood. About fifty years ago, nothing but Scurvy-grass was thought of,
and the best scurvy-grass ale was sold in Covent Garden, at the
public-house at the corner of Henrietta Street.

[Illustration: _"Simplers"_]



Those persons who live in the country and rise with the sun can bear
testimony to the activity of the Simpler, who commences his selections
from the ditches and swampy grounds at that early period of the day, and,
after he has filled a large pack for his back, trudges for fifteen miles
to the London markets, where perhaps he is the first who offers goods for
sale; he then returns back and sleeps in some barn until the next
succeeding sun. Such an instance of rustic simplicity is William Friday,
whose portrait is exhibited in the annexed plate. This man starts from
Croydon, with champignons, mushrooms, &c. and is alternately snail-picker,
leech-bather, and viper-catcher. Simpling is not confined to men; but
women, particularly in some counties, often constitute a greater part of
the community, and they appear to be a distinct class of beings. The plate
which accompanies this description exhibits three women Simplers returning
from market to Croydon; they were sketched on the Stockwell Road, and are
sufficient to shew their gait.

The Simplers, particularly the women, are much attached to brass rings,
which they display in great profusion upon almost every finger: their
faces and arms are sunburnt and freckled, and they live to a great age,
notwithstanding their constant wet and heavy burthens, which are always
earned on the loins.

To the exertions of these poor people the public are much indebted, as
they supply our wants every day; indeed the extensive sale of their
commodities, which they dispose of to the herb-shops in Covent Garden,
Fleet, and Newgate Markets, must at once declare them to be a most useful
set of people. Among the numerous articles culled from the hedges and the
springs, the following are a few in constant consumption: water-cresses,
dandelions, scurvy-grass, nettles, bitter-sweet, cough-grass, feverfew,
hedge mustard, Jack by the hedge, or sauce-alone.

Dr. Buchan observes, that "Bitter-sweet is a common wild plant, with weak
but woody stalks, that runs among our hedges, and bears bunches of pretty
blue flowers in summer, and in autumn red berries; the stalks run to ten
feet in length, but they cannot support themselves upright; they are of a
bluish colour, and, when broken, have a very disagreeable smell like
rotten eggs. The leaves are oval, but sharp-pointed, and have each two
little ones near the base; they are of a dusky green and indented, and
they grow singly on the stalks. The flowers are small and of a fine
purplish blue, with yellow threads in the middle; the berries are oblong."

The same author, speaking of Cough-grass, says, "However offensive this
weed may be in the fields and gardens, it is said to have its uses in
medicine, and should teach us that the most common things are not
therefore despicable, since it is certain that nothing was made in vain."

The Doctor observes, that "Jack by the hedge, or sauce alone, is an annual
plant, which perishes every year, but makes a figure in the spring, and is
common in our hedges. The root is small, white, and woody, the stalks rise
to the height of three feet, and are slender, channelled, hairy, and very
straight. The leaves, which stand on long foot-stalks, are large, broad,
short, and roundish; and those which grow on the stalk somewhat pointed at
the extremities, and waved at the edges. They are of a pale yellow green
colour, thin and slender, and being bruised, smell like onions or garlic.
The flowers, which stand ten or a dozen together at the tops of the
branches, are small and white, consisting each of four leaves; these are
followed by slender pods, containing small longish seeds. It is found in
hedges, and on bank sides, and flowers in May."

Many of the simples of England are peculiar to particular spots, as the
following extract from Gerarde's Herbal, fol. 1633, Lond. edited by Thomas
Johnson, will demonstrate. "Navelwort, or wall penniwoort. The first kind
of penniwoort groweth plentifully in Northampton upon every stone wall
about the towne, at Bristow, Bathe, Wells, and most places of the West
Countrie, upon stone walls. It groweth upon Westminster Abbey, over the
doore that leadeth from Chaucer's tombe to the old palace." From an
address to his courteous readers, it appears that Gerarde first
established his Herbal in the year 1597, in the month of December, and
that he then resided in Holborn. Thomas Johnson, Gerarde's editor, dates
his address to his reader from his house on Snow Hill, Oct. 22, 1633.
Hence it will appear that any thing these writers may have said respecting
the structure of the buildings or topography of the suburbs in which they
herbarized, is to be depended upon.

Snails are brought to market by the Simpler, and continue to be much used
by consumptive persons. There are various sorts which are peculiar to
particular spots; for instance, at Gayhurst, in Buckinghamshire, the Helix
Pomoeria were there turned down for the use of Lady Venetia Digby when
in a weak state. The house now belongs to Miss Wright, a descendant of
Lord Keeper Wright, where these snails continue in great profusion. Near
the old green-houses built by Kent in Kensington Gardens, the same snail
is frequently found; it has a yellow shell, and was prescribed and placed
there for William the Third.

Vipers formerly were sold in quantities at the Simpling Shops, but of late
years they are so little called for that not above one in a month is sold
in Covent Garden Market. There were regular viper catchers, who had a
method of alluring them with a bit of scarlet cloth tied to the end of a
long stick.

The following lines are extracted from a curious half-sheet print,
entitled, "The Cries of London," to the tune of "Hark, the merry merry
Christ Church bells," printed and sold at the printing office in Bow
Church Yard, London. To this plate are prefixed two very curious old
wood-blocks, one of a Galantie-show man, of the time of King William the
Third, and the other of the time of James the First, representing a
Salt-box man, and is perhaps one of the earliest specimens of that
character. The lines alluded to are:

  "Here's fine rosemary, sage, and thyme!
  Come buy my ground ivy.
  Here's fetherfew, gilliflowers, and rue,
  Come buy my knotted marjorum, ho!
  Come buy my mint, my fine green mint,
  Here's fine lavender for your clothes,
  Here's parsley and winter-savory,
  And hearts-ease, which all do choose.
  Here's balm and hissop, and cinquefoil,
  All fine herbs, it is well known.
    Let none despise the merry merry Cries
    Of famous London Town!

  Here's pennyroyal and marygolds!
  Come buy my nettle-tops.
  Here's water-cresses and scurvy-grass!
  Come buy my sage of virtue ho!
  Come buy my wormwood and mugwort,
  Here's all fine herbs of every sort.
  Here's southernwood that's very good,
  Dandelion and houseleek.
  Here's dragon's tongue and wood sorrel,
  With bear's foot and horehound.
    Let none despise the merry merry Cries
    Of famous London Town!"

[Illustration: _"Washerwomen"_]



Perhaps there is not a class of people who work harder than those
washer-women who go out to assist servants in what is called a heavy wash;
they may be seen in the winter time, shivering at the doors, at three and
four o'clock in the morning, and are seldom dismissed before ten at night,
this hard treatment being endured for two shillings and sixpence a day.
They may be divided into two classes, the industrious, who labour
cheerfully to support their little ones, and, too often, an idle and cruel
husband; and those that take snuff, drink gin, and propagate the scandal
of the neighbourhood, seldom quitting the house of their employer without
gaining the secrets of the family, which they acquire by pretending to
tell the fortunes of every one in the house to the servants of the family,
by the manner in which the grouts of the tea adhere to the sides of the
tea-cup. Most of these people, who are generally round-shouldered and
lop-sided, are so accustomed to chatter with the servants, that they
acquire a habit of keeping their mouths open, either horizontally or
perpendicularly; and it is evident from Hollar's etchings of Leonardo da
Vinci's caricatures that the latter must have studied the grimaces of this
class of people. Some of these old washer-women, when they happen to meet
with a discreet and silent domestic, will speak to the cat or the dog, and
even hold conversation with themselves rather than lose the privilege of

These wretches are always full of complaints of their coughs, asthmas, or
pains in the stomach, but these are mere efforts to procure an extra glass
of cordial.

The Char-women are that description of people who go about to clean
houses, either by washing the wainscot, scrubbing the floors, or
brightening the pots and kettles; they are generally worse drabs, if
possible, than the lowest order of washer-women; they will either filch
the soap, steal the coals, or borrow a plate, which they never return; and
yet the women of this calling who conduct themselves with sobriety and
honesty, are great acquisitions to single gentlemen, particularly students
in the law.

Few families, however watchful they may be over the conduct of their
servants, are aware of the extreme idleness and profligacy of some of

If the mistress of a house would for once rise at five o'clock, she might
behold a set of squalid beings engaged in whitening the steps of the
doors; she may even observe some of them, who have procured keys of the
area gates, descend the steps to procure from the kitchen pails of
hog-wash, with meat and bread wrapped up in tattered aprons; so that their
servants, by thus getting rid of the door-cleaning business, remain in bed
after the milkwoman, by the help of a string, has lowered her can into the
area. This dishonesty of the servants has been extended, from a few broken
crusts, to the more generous gift of half a loaf in a morning.

On the contrary, it is a fact too well known, that there are many servants
who rise too early, particularly those who attend to the flattery of men
who sneak into houses, pretending to be in love with their charming
persons, merely for the purpose of obtaining the surest mode of robbing
the house, either then or in future.

There are hundreds of old women who take charge of the children of those
who go out for daily hire. These Nurses drag the infants in all sorts of
ways about the streets for the whole day, and sometimes treat them very
ill, and, imitating the mode usually adopted by the vulgar part of nurses
in families, to pacify the squalling and too often hungry infants, terrify
them with a threat that Tom Poker, David Stumps, or Bonaparte, are coming
to take them away. This custom of frightening children, which was
practised in very early times, was made use of by the Spanish nurses after
the defeat of the Armada. Burton, in his "Anatomy of Melancholy," part I,
sec. 2: "Education a cause of Melancholy. There is a great moderation to
be had in such things as matters of so great moment, to the making or
marring of a childe. Some fright their children with beggars, bugbears,
and hobgoblins, if they cry or be otherways unruly."

Among the very few single prints published in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, there is one engraved on wood, measuring twenty inches by
thirteen; it contains multitudes of figures, and is so great a rarity,
that the author has seen only one impression of it, which is in the truly
valuable and interesting collection of prints presented in the most
liberal manner to the British Museum by Sir Joseph and Lady Banks.

This print, which has escaped the notice of all the writers on the Graphic
Art, is entitled, "Tittle-Tattle, or the several Branches of Gossipping;"
at the foot of the print are the following verses, evidently in a type and
orthography of a later time:


  At childbed when the gossips meet,
    Fine stories we are told;
  And if they get a cup too much,
    Their tongues they cannot hold.


  At market when good housewives meet,
    Their market being done,
  Together they will crack a pot
    Before they can get home.


  The bakehouse is a place, you know,
    Where maids a story hold,
  And if their mistresses will prate,
    They must not be controll'd.


  At alehouse you see how jovial they be,
    With every one her noggin;
  For till the skull and belly be full
    None of them will be jogging.


  To Church fine ladies do resort,
    New fashions for to spy,
  And others go to Church sometimes,
    To shew their bravery.


  Hot-house makes a rough skin smooth,
    And doth it beautify;
  Fine gossips use it every week,
    Their skins to purify.


  At the conduit striving for their turn,
    The quarrel it grows great,
  That up in arms they are at last,
    And one another beat.


  Washing at the river's side
    Good housewives take delight;
  But scolding sluts care not to work,
    Like wrangling queens they fight.


  Then gossips all a warning take,
    Pray cease your tongue to rattle;
  Go knit, and sew, and brew, and bake,
    And leave off TITTLE-TATTLE.

[Illustration: _"Smithfield Saloop"_]



About a century ago, almost every corner of the more public streets was
occupied at midnight, until six or seven in the morning, by the sellers of
frumenty, barley broth, cow-heel soup, and baked ox-cheek; and in those
days when several hundreds of chairmen were nightly waiting in the
metropolis, and it was the fashion for the bloods of the day to beat the
rounds, as they termed it, there was a much greater consumption of such

The scenes of vice at the above period were certainly far more frequent
than they are at present, for hard drinking, and the visitation of
brothels were then esteemed as the completion of what was termed genteel
education; and it was no unusual thing to see the famous Quin, with his
inseparable associate Frank Hayman, the painter, swearing at each other in
the kennel, but both with a full determination to remain there until the
watchman went his round.

The numerous songs of the day, and the incomparable plates by Hogarth,
will sufficiently show the folly and vice of those drinking times, when
the courtier, after attending the drawing-room of St. James's, would walk
in his full dress, with bag and sword, from the palace, to the diabolical
coffee-room of Moll King, in Covent Garden, where he would mix, sit, and
converse with every description of character.

Moll King's was the house now the sign of the Green Man, and was a mere
hovel, so destitute of accommodation that the principal chamber of vice
was immediately over the coffee room, and could only be ascended by a drop

Saloop, the subject of this etching, has superseded almost every other
midnight street refreshment, being a beverage easily made, and a long time
considered as a sovereign cure for head-ache arising from drunkenness. But
no person, unless he has walked through the streets from the hour of
twelve, can duly paint the scenes of the saloop stall with its variety of

Whoever may be desirous of tasting saloop in the highest perfection, may
be gratified at Reid's Coffee House,[16] No. 102, Fleet Street, which was
the first respectable house where it was to be had, and established in the
year 1719. The following lines are painted on a board, and suspended in
the coffee room:

  "Come all degrees now passing by,
  My charming liquor taste and try;
  To Lockyer[17] come, and drink your fill;
  Mount Pleasant[18] has no kind of ill.
  The fumes of wine, punch, drams, and beer,
  It will expell; your spirits cheer;
  From drowsiness your spirits free.
  Sweet as a rose your breath shall be.
  Come taste and try, and speak your mind;
  Such rare ingredients here are joined,
  Mount Pleasant pleases all mankind."

The following extract respecting saloop, is taken from p. 38 of "Flora
Diætetica, or History of Esculent Plants," by Charles Bryant, of Norwich,
1783. "Orchis Mascula. This is very common in our woods, meadows, and
pastures, and the powdered roots of it are said to be the saloop which is
sold in the shops; but the shop roots come from Turkey.

"The flowers of most of the plants of this genus are indiscriminately
called cuckoo-flowers by the country people. Though it has been affirmed
that saloop is the root of the mascula only, yet those of the morio, and
of some other species of orchis, will do equally as well, as I can affirm
from my own experience; consequently, to give a description of the mascula
in particular will be useless. As most country people are acquainted with
these plants by the name of cuckoo-flowers, it certainly would be worth
their while to employ their children to collect the roots for sale; and
though they may not be quite so large as those that come from abroad, yet
they may be equally as good, and as they are exceedingly plentiful, enough
might annually be gathered for our own consumption, and thus a new article
of employment would be added to the poorer sort of people.

"The time for taking them up is when the seed is about ripe, as then the
new bulbs are fully grown; and all the trouble of preparing them is, to
put them, fresh taken up, into scalding hot water for about half a minute;
and on taking them out, to rub off the outer skin; which done, they must
be laid on tin plates, and set in a pretty fierce oven for eight or ten
minutes, according to the size of the roots; after this, they should be
removed to the top of the oven, and left there till they are dry enough to

"Saloop is a celebrated restorative among the Turks, and with us it stands
recommended in consumptions, bilious cholics, and all disorders proceeding
from an acrimony in the juices.

"Some people have a method of candying the roots, and thus prepared they
are very pleasant, and may be eaten with good success against coughs and
inward soreness."



It would be almost criminal to proceed in my account of the present cry
without passing a due encomium on the subject of it. The good qualities of
an English pudding, more especially when it happens to be enriched with
the due portion of enticing plums, are well known to most of us. It is a
luxury to which our Gallic neighbours are entire strangers, and an article
of cookery worth any dozen of their harlequin kick-shaws.

The justly-celebrated comedian, Ned Shuter, was so passionately fond of
this article that he would never dine without it, and anything that led to
the bare mention of a pudding would burst the silence of a couple of
hours' smoking; he was on one occasion known to lay down his pipe, and to
exclaim, that the dinner the gentleman had just described would have been
a very good one if there had but been a plum-pudding. The places where
this excellent commodity is chiefly exposed to sale in the manner
described in the engraving, are those of the greatest traffic or
publicity, such as Smithfield on a market morning, where waggoners,
butchers, and drovers, are sure to find their pence for a slice of hot
pudding. Fleet Market, Leadenhall, Honey Lane, and Spital Fields, have
each their hot-pudding men. In the lowest neighbourhoods in Westminster,
where the soldiers reside, cook-shops find great custom for their pudding.
The stalls, near the Horse Guards always have large quantities ready
cut into penny slices, piled up like boards in a timber-yard.

[Illustration: _Smithfield Pudding_]

At the time of relieving guard, vendors of pudding are always to be found
on the parade. There is a black man, a handsome, well-made fellow,
remarkably clean in his person, and always drest in the neatest manner,
who never fails to sell his pudding; he also frequents the Regent's Park
on a Sunday afternoon, and, though he has no wit, his nonsense pleases the
crowd. This person, who is now at the top of his calling, had a
predecessor of the name of Eglington, who likewise carried on the business
of a tailor.

He was a well-made and very active man, and by reason of his being seen in
various parts of London nearly at the same time, was denominated the
"Flying Pudding Man." His principal walk was in the neighbourhood of Fleet
Market and Holborn Bridge, and his smartness of dress and quickness of
repartee gained the attention of his customers; he seldom appeared but in
a state of perfect sobriety, and many curious anecdotes are related of

On the approach of Edmonton Fair, wishing to see the sports and pastimes
of the place, he ordered his wife to make as many puddings as to fill a
hackney coach. This being done, on the morning of the opening of the fair
a coach was hired for the puddings, and the pudding man and pudding lady
took their seats by the side of the coachman. On their arrival at the fair
he put on his well-known dress, and instantly commenced his cry of
"pudding," whilst the lady supplied him from the coach. In a few hours'
time, when his stock was all disposed of, he resumed his best attire, and
with his fair spouse proceeded to visit the various shows.

His well-known features were soon recognized by thousands who frequented
the fair, and their jeers of "hot, hot, smoking hot," resounded from booth
to booth. At the close of the day this constant couple walked home well
laden with the profits they had made. There is hardly a fight on the
Scrubs,[19] nor a walking match on Blackheath, that are not visited by the
pudding men.

When malefactors were executed at Tyburn, the pudding men of the day were
sure to be there, and indeed so many articles were sold, and the cries of
new milk, curds and whey, spice cakes, barley sugar, and hot spice
gingerbread, were so numerous and loud, that this place on the day of
execution was usually designated by the thousands of blackguards who
attended it under the appellation of Tyburn Fair. The reader may see a
faithful representation of this melancholy and humourous scene by the
inimitable Hogarth, in the Execution Plate of his Idle Apprentice. In this
engraving he will also find a correct figure of the triangular gallows,
commonly called the "Three-legged Mare," and which stood upon the site
afterwards occupied by the turnpike house, at the end of Oxford Street.

In many instances the pudding sold in the streets has a favourable aspect,
and under some circumstances perhaps proves a delicious treat to the

Nothing can be more gratifying than to enable a poor little
chimney-sweeper to indulge his appetite with a luxury before which he has
for some minutes been standing with a longing inclination; and as this
gratification can be accomplished at a very trifling expense, it were
surely much better to behold it realized than to see the canting
Tabernacle beggar carry away the pennies he has obtained to the gin shop.
It gives the writer great pleasure to state to the readers of Jonas
Hanway's little tract in defence of chimney-sweepers, that, after
witnessing with the most painful sensations the great and wanton cruelty
which has for years been exercised upon that defenceless object the infant
chimney-sweeper, he has of late frequently visited several houses of their
masters, where he found in some instances that they had much better
treatment than formerly, and, to the credit of many of the masters, that
the boys had been as well taken care of, as to bedding and food, as the
nature of their wretched calling could possibly admit of. By three or four
of the principal master chimney-sweepers, the boys were regaled on Sundays
with the old English fare of roast beef and plum pudding. Whatever may be
the opinion of grave and elderly persons with respect to the lads of the
present day, who as soon as they are indulged with a dandy coat by their
silly mothers strut about like jackdaws and attempt to look big, even upon
their grandfathers, yet we must declare, and perhaps to the satisfaction
of these little men of sixteen, that they do not stand alone, for even
some of the chimney-sweepers' boys, particularly those of the higher
masters, regard the custom of dancing about the streets on May-day as low
and vulgar, and prefer visiting the tea gardens, where they can display
their shirt collars drawn up to their eyes.

Certain it is that the greater number of those who now perambulate the
streets as chimney-sweeps on May-day, are in reality disguised gypsies,
cinder-sifters, and nightmen. Nor is the protraction of this ceremony in
modern times from one to three days, even by its legitimate owners,
unworthy of notice in this place; inasmuch as there is good reason for
supposing that the money collected during the first two of those days is
transferred to the pockets of the masters, instead of being applied for
the benefit of the poor boys, whilst the well-meant benevolence of the
public is shamefully deluded.



Within the memory of the author's oldest friends, London has been visited
by men similar to Bernardo Millano, whose figure is pourtrayed in the
following Plate. About sixty years ago there was a Turk, of a most pompous
appearance, who entertained crowds in the street by playing on an
instrument of five strings passed over a bladder, and drawn up to the ends
of a long stick, something like that exhibited in the etching, and which
instrument is said to have been the original hurdy-gurdy. This Turk
contrived by the assistance of his nose, which was a pretty large one, to
produce a noise with which most of the spectators seemed to be pleased.
The splendour of his dress, and the pomposity of his manner, procured him
a livelihood for some years. His success induced other persons to imitate
him; the most remarkable of whom was the famous Matthew Skeggs, who
actually played a concerto on a broomstick, at the Little Theatre in the
Haymarket, in the character of Signor Bumbasto. His portrait was painted
by Thomas King, a particular friend of Hogarth, and engraved by Houston.
Skeggs, who then kept a public-house, the sign of the "Hoop and Bunch of
Grapes," in St. Alban's Street, now a part of Waterloo Place, published it
himself. Skeggs's celebrity is noticed in the following extract from G. A.
Stevens: "The choice spirits have ever been famous for their talents as
musical artists. They usually met at the harvest-homes of grape gathering.
There, exhilarated by the pressings of the vintage, they were wont to
sing songs, tell stories, and show tricks, from their first emerging until
their perihelion under the presidentship of Mr. George Alexander Stevens,
Ballad-Laureat to the Society of Choice Spirits, and who appeared at
Ranelagh in the character of Comus, supported by those drolls of merry
memory. Unparalleled were their performances, as _first fists_ upon the
salt-box, and inimitable the variations they would twang upon the _forte_
and _piano_ Jew's harp; excellent was _Howard_ in the chin concerto, whose
nose also supplied the unrivalled tones of the bagpipe. Upon the sticcado,
_Matt. Skeggs_ remains still unrivalled. And we cannot now boast of one
real genius upon the genuine hurdy-gurdy. Alas! these stars are all
extinguished; and the remains of ancient British harmony are now confined
to the manly music of the marrow-bones and cleavers. Everything must sink
into oblivion. Corn now grows where Troy town stood; Ranelagh may be
metamorphosed into a methodists' meeting-house; Vaux-Hall cut into skittle
alleys; the two Theatres converted into auction rooms; and the New
Pantheon become the stately habitation of some Jew pawnbroker: nay, the
Sons of Liberty themselves, &c."

[Illustration: _Itinerant Musician_]

Much about this time another Bladder-man was in high estimation, whose
portrait has been handed down to us in an etching by Miller, from a most
spirited drawing by Gravelot. The following verses, which set forth his
woful situation, are placed at the foot of the Plate:


  "No musick ever charm'd my mind
  So much as bladder fill'd with wind;
  But as no mortal's free from fate,
  Nor nothing keeps its first estate,
  A pamper'd prodigal unkind
  One day with sword let out the wind!
  My bladder ceas'd its pleasing sound,
  While boys stood tantalizing round.


  "They well may laugh who always win,
  But, had I not then thought on tin,
  My misery had been compleat;
  I must have begg'd about the street:
  But none to grief should e'er give way:
  This canister, ne'er fill'd with tea!
  Can please my audience as well,
  And charm their ears with, O Brave Nell."

Some few years since a whimsical fellow attracted public notice by passing
strings over the skull of a horse, upon which he played as a fidler.
Another man, remarkably tall and thin, made a square violin, upon which he
played for several years, particularly within the centre arches of
Westminster Bridge.

To the eternal honour of the street-players of former times, it will ever
be remembered that the great Purcell condescended to set one of their
elegies to music. "Thomas Farmer, in 1684, lived in Martlet Court, in Bow
Street, Covent Garden. He was originally one of the London street waits,
and his elegy was set to music by Purcell." See Hawkins's History of
Music, Vol. V. p. 18.

The Guardian, No. 1, March 12, 1713, notices the famous John Gale. "There
was, I remember, some years ago, one John Gale, a fellow that played upon
a pipe, and diverted the multitude by dancing in a ring they made about
him, whose face became generally known, and the artists employed their
skill in delineating his features, because every man was judge of the
similitude of them."

A sort of guitar or cittern, and also the fiddle, were used in this
country so early as the year 1364, and may be seen upon a brass monumental
plate to the memory of Robert Braunche and his two wives, in the choir of
St. Margaret's Church at Lynn. The subject alluded to is the
representation of a Peacock feast, consisting of a long table with twelve
persons, besides musicians and other attendants. Engravings of this very
curious monument may be seen in Gough's Sepulchral Monuments, vol. i. p.
115; in Carter's Specimens of Ancient Sculpture, vol. ii. plate 15; and in
Cotman's Norfolk Brasses, Pl. III. p. 4.


The interest of the Plates in Mr. Smith's "Antient Topography of London,"
is much increased by numerous spirited little sketches of remarkable
characters well known in the streets of the Metropolis; several of whom
would have formed valuable additions, either to his work on the London
Beggars, intituled, "Vagabondiana," or the present volume: a few of these
shall be here noticed.

1. In the View of the Old Houses in London Wall, p. 63, the man with two
baskets is JOHN BRYSON, well known in London, particularly in rainy
weather. He had been an opulent fishmonger in Bloomsbury Market, but
became, by several losses, so reduced, that he latterly carried nothing
except nuts in his basket; but his custom to the last was to cry every
sort of fish from the turbot to the perriwinkle, never heeding the calls
of those unacquainted with his humour. In the same Plate is WILLIAM
CONWAY, whose cry of "Hard metal Spoons to sell or change," was familiar
to the inhabitants of London and its environs. This man's portrait is also
given by Mr. Smith in the present work, p. 63.

2. In the View of old Houses at the West end of Chancery Lane, p. 48, are
several figures drawn from the life. The woman with crutches represents
ANNE SIGGS. She was remarkable for her cleanliness, a rare quality for her
fraternity. Slander, from whose sting the most amiable persons are not
invulnerable, tempted this woman to spread a report of her being the
sister of the celebrated tragedian, Mrs. Siddons. From a work of singular
character by Mr. James Parry, it appears that she was a daughter of an
industrious breeches-maker at Dorking in Surrey. Another back view of this
woman occurs in the Plate of Duke Street, Smithfield, in p. 54.

3. The man without legs, in the same print, is SAMUEL HORSEY, well known
in Holborn, Fleet Street, and the Strand. In 1816 this man had been a
London beggar for thirty-one years. He had a most Herculean trunk, and his
weather-beaten ruddy face was the picture of health. Mr. Smith has given a
back view of this beggar in "Vagabondiana," p. 37, where are some further
anecdotes of him.

4. The dwarf hobbling up Chancery Lane was JEREMIAH DAVIES, a native of
Wales. He was frequently shewn at fairs, and supported a miserable
existence by performing sleight-of-hand tricks. He was also very strong,
and would lift a considerable weight, though not above three feet high.

5. The tall slender figure next to Davies was a Mr. CREUSE, a truly
singular man, who never begged of any one, but would not refuse money when
offered. He died in Middlesex Court, Drury Lane, and was attended to the
burial ground in that street by friends in two mourning coaches. It is
said he left money to a considerable amount behind him.

6. In the View of Houses in Sweedon's Passage, p. 42, is a portrait of
JOSEPH CLINCH, a noisy bow-legged ballad-singer, who was particularly
famous, about 1795, for his song upon Whittington and his Cat. He likewise
sold a coarse old woodcut of the animal, with its history and that of its
master printed in the back ground.

7. In the view of Winchester Street, p. 68, the person with the umbrella
went under the name of Count VERDION, well known to Book Collectors. This
person was a professor of languages; for several years frequented
Furnival's Inn Coffee-House; and was a member of a man's benefit society
held at the Genoa Arms public house, in Hays's Court, Newport Market. This
supposed Count eventually proved to be a female, and died of a cancer on
the 16th July 1802, at her lodgings in Charles Street, Hatton Garden, in
the 58th year of her age.

8. The short figure, carrying a little box, was sketched from the
celebrated corn-cutter, Mr. CORDEROY, who married a lady five feet six
inches high.

9. The figure beyond Mr. Corderoy, is that of the respectable Bishop of
St. POL DE LEON; of whom a portrait and memoir by Mr. Eardley Wilmot, will
be found in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1807.

10. In the view of Leadenhall Street, p. 52, the figure with a wig-box in
his hands represents JOSEPH WATKINS, born in 1739 at Richmond, in
Yorkshire; by trade a barber, and a man of retentive memory. He frequently
shaved Hogarth, whom he knew well, and said he was the last person in
London who wore a scarlet roquelaure. He had gathered blackberries on the
north side of the road now Oxford Street, and remembered the old
triangular gallows at Tyburn, as represented in the Execution Plate of the
Idle Apprentice.

11. The next figure is that of a draggle-tailed bawler of dying speeches,
horrid murders, elegies, &c.

12. The female in a morning jacket was sketched from the celebrated Mrs.
ELIZABETH CARTER, the learned translator of Epictetus. She died Feb. 19,

13. The clumsy figure in a white coat, holding a goose, was well known
about town as a vender of aged poultry.

14. The figure with a cocked hat, was a dealer in old iron, a man well
known at auctions of building materials, and was nicknamed by the brokers

In 1815 Mr. Smith published a separate whole-length portrait of "Henry
Dinsdale, nicknamed Sir Harry Dimsdale, mayor of the mock Borough of
Garret, aged 38, anno 1800." It forms a good companion to his
Vagabondiana. Dinsdale was by trade a muffin-man. There is also a spirited
head of Dinsdale by Mr. Smith; and his portrait, in his court dress, is
copied into Hone's Every Day Book, vol. II. p. 829, where, by mistake, it
is called Sir Jeffrey Dunstan.

P. 9. Hand's Bun-house at Chelsea was pulled down April 18, 1839. See
Gentleman's Magazine for May 1839.

In p. 54 the cry of "Young Lambs to Sell" is noticed. It may be added,
that in Hone's Table Book, p. 396, is a spirited engraving of William
Liston, an old soldier, with one arm and one leg, who, in 1821, carried
about "Young Lambs to Sell." The _first_ crier of "Young Lambs to Sell,"
Mr. Hone says, "was a maimed sailor, and with him originated the


J. B. Nichols and Son, Printers, 25, Parliament-street.


[1] The remaining copies of this curious work having fallen into the hands
of Messrs. Nichols, it may now be had, with all the supplementary Plates
properly arranged, and with others added to them.

[2] A copy of the Life of Nollekens, enriched with the greater portion of
the autograph correspondence mentioned therein, and with numerous
drawings, portraits, and prints, is in the possession of Mr. Upcott; a
nearly similar copy is also in the library of William Knight, of
Canonbury-house, Islington, esq. who possesses by far the most complete
and valuable series of Mr. Smith's graphic and literary labours. His copy
of the History and Antiquities of Westminster, with numerous drawings of
St. Stephen's Chapel, taken by the Bucklers after the recent
conflagration, is at once unique and unrivalled.

[3] Mr. Smith went to breakfast with Mr. Kean, who met him in the Hall,
and asked him if he would like to see his lion; at the same moment
introduced him to the beast in the parlour, who fawned about him; Mr. Kean
became alarmed, and enticed the animal to the window, whilst Mr. Smith
went up to Mrs. Kean in the drawing-room, who, on hearing of the
circumstance, exclaimed, "Is Edmund mad?" Mr. Smith that morning made a
sketch of the lion in his den.

[4] This painted glass, 24 inches by 16, commemorates a very valuable
benefaction to the parish of Lambeth, by a person unknown, of a piece of
land, called, in 1504, Church Hope; in 1623, the Church Oziers, or Ozier
Hope; and in 1690, Pedlar's Acre; let in 1504 at 2_s._ 8_d._, and now
covered with houses and wharfs. Hope or Hoope signifies an isthmus or neck
of land projecting into the river, or an inclosed piece of low marsh land.
By the Churchwardens' Accounts, in 1607, it appears there was then a
picture of the Pedlar; but the present pane is thus noticed: "1703. March
6. Paid Mr. Price for a new glass Pedler £2." Nichols's Lambeth Parish,
pp. 30, 31, 39; Allen's Lambeth, p. 62; in both which works are also
representations of this painted glass. N.

[5] A view of this house is given in the Gentleman's Magazine for May
1801. Dr. Swift, in his Journal to Stella, Nov. 15, 1712, mentioning the
death of the Duke of Hamilton, in a duel with Lord Mahon, says, "the Duke
was helped towards the Cake-house by the Ring in Hyde Park (where the duel
was fought), and died on the grass before he could reach the house." N.

[6] This curious series of the Cries of London, drawn after the life, was
engraved on 74 copper-plates by Tempesta, after Laroon. It is noticed in
Hone's Table Book, vol. ii. p. 131, where twenty of these Cries not now
heard in the streets are described, and the following figures are copied.
1. "Buy a fine singing bird," vol. i. p. 510; 2. "Six pence a pound, fair
cherries;" and 3. "Troop every one!" the seller of hobby-horses, toys for
children, i. 686; 4. "Any New-River water here," p. 733; 5. "Fine Writing
Ink;" and 6. "Buy an Iron Fork, or a Spoon," vol. ii. p. 431. The Set of
Cries by Paul Sandby, consists of twelve. Both these have many real
portraits. (Gough's Brit. Top. i. 689.) N.

[7] It is much to be regretted that Mr. Smith never completed this work,
for which he had collected valuable materials, which we fear are
dispersed. N.

[8] Representations of these cressets are given in Douce's "Illustrations
of Shakspeare," and in "Hone's Every Day Book," i. 831. N.

[9] Stowe, edit. 1618, p. 160. These extracts from Stowe attracted the
notice of Mr. Hone, who has inserted them, with many suitable remarks, in
his "Every Day Book," i. 827. N.

[10] This work was very popular. The eighth edition bears this title:
"English Villanies, eight several times prest to Death by the Printers,
but still reviving again, are now the eighth time (as at the first)
discovered by Lanthorne and Candlelight, &c. Lond. 1618." N.

[11] Copied in Hone's "Table Book," vol. i. p. 733. N.

[12] Elizabeth, one of the learned and accomplished daughters of Sir
Anthony Cooke, Knt. was first married to Sir Thomas Hobye, (who died at
Paris in 1566.) She was afterwards married to John Lord Russell, (who died
in 1584); and having lived his widow 25 years, was buried at Bisham, June
2, 1609.--Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, III. 132. N.

[13] Sir Thomas de Veil died Oct. 7, 1746, in his 63d year, and was buried
at Denham, Bucks. A good memoir of him will be found in Gent. Mag. for
1747, p. 562. N.

[14] Since this work was written, an excellent work on Ancient Furniture
has been published, the plates engraved by Henry Shaw, F.S.A. and
described by Sir Samuel R. Meyrick, K.H. F.S.A.

[15] This appears to have been an adaptation from--

  Young Lambs to sell! Young Lambs to sell!
  If I'd as much money as I could _tell_
  I never would cry, Young Lambs to sell!

[16] The lovers of saloop can no longer enjoy their favourite beverage at
this the original shop, it having been closed as a coffee-house in June
1833, the proprietor having been unfortunately too fond of liquor more
spirituous than his own saloop. It is now a shoe-warehouse. N.

[17] Lockyer was the name of the first proprietor of the house.

[18] Mount Pleasant is in America, and produces the sassafras, from which
the proprietor of the above coffee-house made the saloop.

[19] Wormholt or Wormwood Scrubs, in the parish of Hammersmith. The
following is extracted from the Sporting Magazine, Oct. 1802, p. 15. "On
Thursday a pitched battle, for twenty guineas a side, was fought between
O'Donnel and Pardo Wilson, brother-in-law to Belcher; and the ground fixed
upon for the combat was the _Scrubs_, through which the Paddington canal
runs, about four miles from Hyde Park Corner." Wormholt Scrubs has long
been rented of the parish of Hammersmith by the Government as an exercise
ground for the cavalry. At the present time Wormholt Scrubs is traversed
by three railways, the London and Birmingham, the Great Western, and one
now making to join the two former ones with the Thames. N.

  _Of Nichols and Son, may be had, Price 5l. 5s._





_In this Edition the "Sixty-two additional Plates," published subsequently
to the original Work, are inserted in their proper places; together with
twenty-two other Plates strictly illustrative of Mr. Smith's publication;
forming together a collection of Engravings illustrative of the antient
City of Westminster unequalled in any other work._

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