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The Modern Cries of London

March 5, 2013
by the gentle author

This comic series of The Modern Cries of London from the Bishopsgate Archive are the first I have discovered that are seasonal, illustrating produce to be bought upon the streets of Georgian London in March. These traders were struggling to sell their wares to customers without any money to spare, just as their counterparts do today – rendering this series of Cries of London “Modern” in the sense that they reflect impecunious circumstances.

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

You may also like to take a look at these other series of the Cries of London

Samuel Pepys’ Cries of London

London Characters

Geoffrey Fletcher’s Pavement Pounders

Faulkner’s Street Cries

William Craig Marshall’s Itinerant Traders

London Melodies

Henry Mayhew’s Street Traders

H.W.Petherick’s London Characters

John Thomson’s Street Life in London

Aunt Busy Bee’s New London Cries

Marcellus Laroon’s Cries of London

John Player’s Cries of London

More John Player’s Cries of London

William Nicholson’s London Types

John Leighton’s London Cries

Francis Wheatley’s Cries of London

John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana of 1817

John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana II

John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana III

Thomas Rowlandson’s Lower Orders

More of Thomas Rowlandson’s Lower Orders

Victorian Tradesmen Scraps

Cries of London Scraps

New Cries of London 1803

Cries of London Snap Cards

Adam Dant’s  New Cries of Spittlefields

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Juliet Wrightson permalink
    March 5, 2013

    I don’t understand Apollo Lungs: what is he selling?

  2. Vicky permalink
    March 5, 2013

    .. and I can’t find what Congreaves are, matches I can see, but no dictionary definition of how made and what from. Codlings foxed me but I see they are a type of apple. I love the older sets of Cries of London ..

  3. Charlotte Frost permalink
    March 5, 2013

    I wonder why Mother Matchem used the word ‘congreaves’?

  4. Peter Holford permalink
    March 5, 2013

    Another great piece of social history. Ta!

  5. March 5, 2013

    I found an advertisement for one J. Nathan who sells matches and congreaves. Quote: “great improvement in lucifers […] inventor of the French congreaves, which are peculiarly adapted for shipping orders, as they will keep in any climate” I gather they are some sort of waterproof matches.

  6. Ros permalink
    March 5, 2013

    Lovely piece! Congreves (the more common spelling) are indeed precursors to safety matches and there are several learned articles if one googles Congreve matches. Apollo Lungs is perhaps a town crier sort of chap bellowing out his announcements from his long list. Allan Water is a ballad with the statutory Miller’s Daughter. What one can learn from The Gentle Author…

  7. Charlotte Frost permalink
    March 7, 2013

    Thank you Ros 🙂

  8. Carolyn Badcock - nee Hooper permalink
    March 8, 2013

    Gentle Author – how delightful! But you’re breaking my little family historian heart. My tears are falling down here in Austalia as I see those old sketches of the street sellers in Spitalfields. I can almost see my great grandmother, Maria Milway Randall, a straw hat maker at work in 1851. And as for her future husband, William Nathaniel Hooper’s sister, Susannah’s daughter, Susannah Eastwell, aged 17, the “hawker of cat’s meat” – I can hear her shrill young voice calling all along the streets.
    When I next see London, I will definitely be on those East End streets. After seeing your blog for just one week, and googling Spitalfields further, I think my Randalls, who came down from Bedford, are Huguenots. Wow! the story grows – huge thanks to you.

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