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The New Cries of London, 1803

July 24, 2018
by the gentle author

This battered little chapbook of 1803 with its intricate hand-tinted engravings of street-sellers – that I found in the Bishopsgate Library – is the latest wonder to be uncovered in my investigation into popular prints of Cries of London down through the ages.

Even within the convention of these images, each artist brought something different and these plates are distinguished by their finely drawn figures – including some unexpected grotesques that appear to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, imparting an air of mystery to these everyday scenes of street trading.

I will be speaking about the Cries of London and showing favourite pictures on Tuesday 21st August at the meeting of London Historians at Sir Christopher Hatton in Leather Lane, EC1. The theme of the evening is London Retail and includes Tina Baxter on Leadenhall Market, Jane Young on Co-operative Stores, Dave Whittaker on Gamages, Andrea Tanner on Fortnum & Mason and Diane Burstein on St James’s – Locke & Co, Lobb and Floris. Click here to book a ticket

Milk below!

New Mackerel!

Dust Ho!

Chairs to mend!

Hot cross buns!

Any work for the tinker?

Cherries, threepence a pound!

Flowers for your garden!

Green cucumber!

Buy my watercress!

Sweep! Sweep!

Ground Ivy!

Green hastings!

Scarlet strawberries!


Past ten o’clock!

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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

Cries of London Scraps

5 Responses leave one →
  1. July 24, 2018

    Unlike any other illustrations I have seen. This artist created true pathos, with their use of
    dark/light, and the unique proportions of the figures. I have the feeling they especially enjoyed drawing faces, so the heads are commanding. To me, there are a couple of “sleepers” here.
    (elements that you may not notice at first, but then…….wow!) Take a second look at the young
    girl in green with the cherry seller. And how about the figure walking away from us in the final panel? These are beautiful, evocative illustrations. So glad they have survived.

    Many thanks, GA.

  2. Saba permalink
    July 24, 2018

    In the last panel, what is the hatchet-shaped object around the man’s waist?

  3. July 24, 2018

    These are a fascinating set! Interesting to see ground ivy on sale – for salads, or as a medicinal plant, I wonder? And what is/are ‘green hastings’? The flowers for your garden from the barrow pulled by the wonderfully drawn little donkey seem to include tulips and a fruiting lemon tree, which suggests that the nurseryman had a ‘stove’ or glasshouse?

  4. Geoff Stocker permalink
    July 25, 2018

    I believe the hatchet shape object is a wooden rattle often used as a bird scarer but in this case to wake people up by the night watchman but in the morning. The rattle was later used at football games thankfully no more.
    Great illustration they have a melancholic charm about them.

  5. John Finn permalink
    July 27, 2018

    My Chambers dictionary gives a definition of ‘hastings’ as ‘early fruit or vegetables esp. peas’. And it. does look as though he’s got pea pods on his cart. The maid (who has a wonderful expression of uncertainty) looks like she’s ready to receive the pods into her apron. Couldn’t find this explanation online, though. Glad I haven’t given my books away!

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