Kendrew’s Cries of London
The latest discovery at the Bishopsgate Institute in my ever-growing collection of The Cries of London is this set of woodcuts printed by J. Kendrew of Colliergate, York, at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The popularity of the series was such that even publishers in York and Banbury produced their own versions of the Cries of London. Unusually, in an age when hawkers were often considered vagabonds, this chapbook for children illustrates the street sellers as paragons of virtue, as expressed by their industriousness. Yet, for me, the most exciting phrase in this volume is the text ‘from the life’ which allows the possibility that some of these evocative and characterful cuts may be portraits of individual traders from the streets of London two centuries ago.
Come buy my fine Writing Ink!
Green large Cucumbers twelve a penny!
Dainty Sweet Briar!
Mary, Mary, where are you now, Mary? Tiddy dol, tol drol, tiddy dol.
Rue, Sage and Mint, a farthing a bunch!
Diddle, diddle ,Dumplings, Oh!
Buy a fine Bread Basket or Work Basket!
Oars, Sir! Oars or Scullers, Madam, do you want a Boat?
Black your Shoes, your Honour?
Nice Yorkshire Muffins!
Buy a Broom! Buy a Birch Broom!
Come, but my little Jemmies, my little Tartars, but half-penny a piece!
Twelve pence a peck, Oysters!
My good soul, will you buy a Bowl?
Buy a young Chicken or Fowl!
One a penny, Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns!
Pretty Maid, Pretty Pins!
Maids, buy a Mop!
Old Chairs to mend, Old Chairs to Mend!
Buy my Flounders!
Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute
You may also like to take a look at these other sets of the Cries of London down through the ages