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My Cries Of London Scraps

December 6, 2017
by the gentle author

It is my pleasure to publish these modest Victorian die-cut scraps which are the latest acquisition in my ever-growing collection of the Cries of London. The Costermonger scrap has the name “W. Straker, Ludgate Hill” rubber-stamped on the reverse and  – sure enough – by pulling the London Trade Directory for 1880 off the shelf, I found William Straker, Silver & Copperplate Engraver, Printer, Die Sinker, Wholesale Stationer & Stamp Cutter, 49/63 Ludgate Hill. These mass-produced images appeal to me with their vigorous life, portraying their subjects with their mouths wide open enthusiastically crying their wares – all leading players in the drama of street life in nineteenth century London.

Newspaper seller (The Star was published in London from 1788-1960)

Sandwich-board man (Dan Leno started his career in Babes in the Wood at Drury Lane in 1888)



Watercress seller

Crossing sweeper


Buttonhole seller


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

Adam Dant’s  New Cries of Spittlefields

Victorian Tradesmen Scraps

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Peter Green permalink
    December 6, 2017

    Wonderful! Thank you.

  2. December 6, 2017

    A good set of artistic images, costume is well defined for the period. Poet John

  3. Paul Ridgway permalink
    December 6, 2017

    When in the City in 1972 we used to receive on Tower Hill every day one copy each of Lloyd’s List, The Journal of Commerce, The Times and The Daily Telegraph.

    The supplier was Strakers then in Cannon Street as newsagents and stationers.

    Would they have been descendants of the Straker above on Lydgate Hill?

  4. Helen Breen permalink
    December 6, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, nice assortment. There’s that word again –“costermonger.” According to Wiki, “a street seller of fruit and vegetables.”

    But here is the fine distinction: “Some historians have pointed out that a hierarchy existed within the costermonger class and that while costermongers sold from a handcart or animal-drawn cart, mere hawkers carried their wares in a basket.”

    Good to know…

  5. December 6, 2017

    The paper and ephemera hounds thank you for this charming array! And you have thought of everything — even showing us the back of one of the scraps.
    These lovely bits were never intended to be saved……yet here we are, on this winter day in 2017, ogling them and feeling so lucky.

  6. Kitanz permalink
    December 6, 2017

    These were Wonderful-Thank You!!

  7. Nicky Morland permalink
    December 7, 2017

    Please could someone explain more for me on ‘die-cast scraps’. What exactly are they?
    I particularly like the watercress seller as it is the third instance this week of watercress for me this week, in a talk on vegetables, on a walk in Cambridgeshire where there are abandoned beds and now in a Victorian Street seller

  8. December 7, 2017

    Nicky, To my knowledge these so-called “scraps” were printed (and oftentimes embossed) on sheets and then metal dies were used to trim/punch around the edges. The end uses were for making cards, or decorating gifts, or saving/collecting in scrap books. It is possible to find
    vintage scrapbooks full of such things, in ephemera markets or tag sales — and they are wonderful.
    I happen to have an old ledger that started out as a salesman’s sample book of fabric swatches, and obviously some young boy has pulled most of the swatches out and glued over them with “scraps”.
    One corner of the old book has been (ahem) chewed by a critter — the boy’s dog perhaps? In pencil on the inside cover is written “Walter — My Book” in pencil. To me, this humble artifact is a rare find.

  9. Nicky Morland permalink
    December 8, 2017

    Thank you Lynne that makes it clear

  10. Alex Phillips permalink
    January 28, 2021

    Thanks for this. I found an invoice or receipt from a collection originating from Northumberland.
    I found an identical scrap for sale on ebay for five pounds while searching for ‘w.straker ludgate hill’

    But I wondered who Strakers were and found your pages. I can now see they must have printed the bill upon which the receipt was written.

    The sale was for 1 duck, 1 pair of sparrows, marbles, 3 fishes, 1 mouse, 3 dogs (!?) and a seagull.

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