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Sam Syntax’s Cries Of London

January 18, 2014
by the gentle author

Harris, the publisher’s office, at the corner of St Paul’s Churchyard

As I discover more series of Cries of London in my ever-expanding investigation – such as these Sam Syntax Cries from the eighteen-twenties that came to light in the Bishopsgate Institute last week – old friends from earlier series return in new guises, evidencing the degree to which the creators of these popular prints plagiarised each other.

Do you recognise the Hot Cross Bun Seller from the New Cries Of London 1803 or Green Hasteds from Francis Wheatley’s Cries of London or the Watchman from T. L. Busby’s Costume Of The Lower Orders or the Hot Gingerbread Seller from William Marshall Craig’s Itinerant Traders? The recurrence of these figures demonstrates how common images of tradesmen became standardised through repetition over centuries.

Yet equally, when I see a trader here as particular as the toy lamb seller originally portrayed by John Thomas Smith in his Vagabondiana of 1815, it makes me wonder whether, perhaps, this was a portrait of a celebrated individual, a character once recognisable throughout the city.

Eels, Threepence a Pound! Live Eels! & Rabbits! Fresh Rabbits! Buy a Rabbit!

Milk Below, Maids! Milk Below! &  One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns!

Plum Pudding and Pies! Hot! Piping Hot! &  Sweep! Sweep Ho! Sweep!

Water Cresses! Buy My Nice Water Cresses! & Dust! Dust Ho! Dust!

Buy a Mat or a Hair Broom!  & Cat’s Meat or Dog’s Meat!

Chairs to Mend! Any Old Chairs To Mend! & Green and Young Hastings! Green and Buy!

Swords, Colours and Standards! & Sweet Briar and Nosegays, So Pretty Come and Buy!

Potatoes, Three Pounds A Penny! Potatoes! & Hot Spice Gingerbread! Hot! Hot! Hot!

Lobsters! Live Lobsters! All Alive, Lobsters! & Choice Banbury Cakes! Nice Banbury Cakes!

Lambs To Sell! Young Lambs To Sell! & Currants Red And White, A Penny A Pot!

Flounders! Jumping Alive! Fine Flounders! & Matches, Please To Want Any Matches, Ma’am!

Sixpence A Pottle, Fine Strawberries! & News! Great News In The London Gazette!

Past Twelve O’Clock and A Cloudy Morning! & Patrol! Patrol!

Buy A Live Goose! Buy A Live Goose! & Live Fowls! Live Fowls! Buy A Live Fowl!

Flowers Blowing! All A-Growing! & Winkles! A Penny A Pint, Periwinkles!

Images courtesy © Bishopsgate Institute

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

John Player’s Cries of London

More John Player’s Cries of London

Faulkner’s Street Cries

Samuel Pepys’ Cries of London

More Samuel Pepys’ Cries of London

Kendrew’s Cries of London

London Characters

Geoffrey Fletcher’s Pavement Pounders

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

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

Julius M Price’s London Types

Adam Dant’s  New Cries of Spittlefields

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    January 18, 2014

    Was the Dust Ho man offering to do dusting, or selling dust?

  2. January 18, 2014

    Wonderful engravings. And wonderful people from the past. Would like to shop there immediately!

    Love & Peace

  3. Classof65 permalink
    January 18, 2014

    What is a hasting?

    Thank you in advance for the answer — I love these illustrations!

  4. Gary Arber permalink
    January 18, 2014

    The call of the street venders is a sound from the past that I miss.
    You could trace their progress along the streets from the diection the call came from.
    I can still hear in my memory the call of a rag man who walked the streets of Bow in the 1940’s pushing a cart and ringing a bell :-
    “Any old iron or lumbe-e-e-e-r – old rags”

  5. Stephen Barker permalink
    January 18, 2014

    Does any one know what the ‘Green & Young Hastings’ are?

    Sarah, He could be selling brickdust which was used to clean metalwork, such as knife blades.

  6. the gentle author permalink*
    January 19, 2014

    Green Hastings were fresh green peas in the pod

  7. January 19, 2014

    Isn’t dust just rubbish? – as in dustbins and dustmen

  8. Stephen Barker permalink
    January 19, 2014

    Gentle Author, thank you for clearing up the question of what Green Hastings are.

    If you read Tobias Smollet’s novel ‘Humphrey Clinker’ and the passage where Squire Bramble denounces the quality of food in London, especially the milk from milkmaids you would never buy food from street vendors

  9. Classof65 permalink
    January 19, 2014

    Thank you, Gentle Author, for enlightening me regarding the hastings — none of my dictionaries included the word…

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