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Dicky Lumskul’s Ramble Through London

August 4, 2017
by the gentle author

Courtesy of the late Mike Henbrey, it is my pleasure to publish this three-hundred-year-old ballad of the London streets and the trades you might expect to find in each of them, as printed and published by J. Pitts, Wholesale Toy & Marble Warehouse, 6 Great St Andrew Street, Seven Dials

Copyright © Mike Henbrey Collection


by Spitalfields Life Contributing Slang Lexicographer Jonathon Green

Bellman – one who rings a bell and makes announcements, a town crier
Clogger – a clogmaker
Cropper – one who operates a shearing machine, either for metal or cloth
Currier – one whose trade is the dressing and colouring of leather after it is tanned
Edger – is presumably Edgeware
Fingersmith – a pickpocket
Gauger – an exciseman, especially who who checks measurements of liquor
Lumper – a labourer, especially on the docks
Shees (Wentworth St) – a misprint for shoes [nothing in OED]
Tow hackler (or Heckler) – one who dresses tow, i.e. unworked flax, with a heckle, a form of comb, splitting and straightening the fibres
Triangles – my sense is that these are triangular, filled pastries [again, nothing in OED] or  a keyboard instrument(a spinet) – Pepys had one made in Bishopsgate
NOTELumskull is not in my Green’s Dictionary of Slang nor indeed the OED where one might have expected it as an alternative spelling of num(b)scull/num(b)skull. Seems to combine that word and lummocks/lummox.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Tony Martin permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Wolverhampton seems to be stretching London’s limits a little even today!

  2. August 4, 2017

    I loved reading this! I wonder if the saying “you’re going to come a cropper” is more horrific than I realised!

  3. Jim McDermott permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Didn’t he sell junk bonds in Lombard Street? Re-invest dictators’ embezzlements from Canary Wharf?

  4. Helen Breen permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a fun read! Old Mike Henbrey certainly knew London and its enterprises. After many trips to London, I was pleased to recognize so many locations. Thanks for the glossary.

  5. Gary Arber permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Interesting to see the old spelling of Romford in use –Rumford

  6. Penny Wythes permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Any idea where Birmingham was in London – and why manufacturing Bank Notes? I thought at this time they were actually issued by the banks, rather than the state.
    Found a Birnham road near Crouch Hill, but doesn’t look like an old Road. Any ideas?

  7. Larry spivack permalink
    August 4, 2017

    So why do the first several lines sound like the Vicar of Bray redux?

  8. Tony Martin permalink
    August 8, 2017

    It does seem strange that Birmingham and Wolverhampton both get a mention, but nowhere else outside London. Coventry might have been worth a line for its silk weaving, perhaps?

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