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George Cruikshank’s Sunday In London

January 18, 2015
by the gentle author

George Cruikshank published these engravings in 1833 as a protest against a Sabbatarian bill “in order to promote the better observance of the Lord’s day” which called for restrictions upon secular public activity. Yet the persistence of bars, clubs and markets opening on Sunday bears witness to the enduring and unassailable commitment of Londoners to make the most of their precious weekends.

“Miserable Sinners!”

Marching to Divine Service

Cordial Workings of the Spirit

The Sunday Market

“Thou Shalt Do No Manner of Work – Thou, nor Thy Cattle”

“People of Condition” on a Sunday

“The Servants Within Our Gates”

Gin-Temple Turn-Out At Church Time

Sunday Ruralizing

The Pay-Table

Sunday “Soiree Musicale”

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. John Campbell permalink
    January 18, 2015

    Interesting to see the concept of ‘Sunday ruralizing’, a practice still in favour today. The theory of green fields and fresh air revitalising the city dwellers is obviously quite ancient in origin.

  2. January 18, 2015

    Great illustrations which really reflect the London spirit (no pun intended!) Valerie

  3. Peter Holford permalink
    January 18, 2015

    Beautifully observed. Making his points. It’s early in the long history of cartoons. It will take more than bullets to stop this proud tradition.

  4. Robert Brown permalink
    January 19, 2015

    This is very interesting. I’ve just been dipping into James Greenwood’s “In Strange Company” (1883) where he has an essay on the lengths people would go to get a drink. In the essay “A “Sly House” on Sunday” he details how by going to a barber’s shop for a shave and then giving the password you could go through the back of the shop and then via a couple of back gardens into the pub: where you would be sold watered down products at inflated prices. Sunday ruralising was also used for drinking as “bona fide” travellers were allowed to buy alcohol at times when others were not (which lasted until the 1960’s or so on Sundays in some parts of Scotland…)

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