Skip to content

The Small Trades Of Spitalfields

October 17, 2018
by the gentle author

This Saturday 20th October at 11am I am giving an illustrated lecture on THE SMALL TRADES OF SPITALFIELDS in the crypt of Christ Church, exploring how the culture of artisans created the identity of Spitalfields and how the small traders are faring today. This event is part of HUGUENOT SKILLS DAY which includes demonstrations, workshops and lectures. Click here for tickets and further information

When these die-cut Victorian scraps of small trades are enlarged to several times their actual size, the detail and characterisation of these figures is revealed splendidly. Printed by rich-hued colour lithography, glossy and embossed, these appealing images celebrate the essential tradesmen and shopkeepers that were once commonplace but now are scarce.

In the course of my interviews, I have spoken with hundreds of shopkeepers and stallholders – and it is apparent that most only make just enough money to live, yet are primarily motivated by the satisfaction they get from their chosen trade and the appreciation of regular customers.

Here in the East End, these are the family businesses and independent traders who have created the identity of the place and carry the life of our streets. Consequently, I delight in these portraits of their predecessors, the tradesmen of the nineteenth century – rendered as giants by these monumental enlargements.

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

One Response leave one →
  1. October 17, 2018

    Large and in charge! In a leisurely world (what’s THAT?) I would print all these characters out on cardstock, and construct a paper theater for them. Imagine them criss-crossing at centerstage, with the audience supplying the “cries”?
    Thank you for igniting my imagination this morning.
    Hurrah for the workers, today and yesteryear.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS