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My Scrap Collection

January 13, 2021
by the gentle author

For some years, I have been collecting Victorian scraps of tradesmen and street characters, and putting them in a drawer. These damp January days gave me the ideal opportunity to search through the contents and study my collection in detail. I am especially fascinated by the mixture of whimsical fantasy and social observation in these colourful miniatures, in which even the comic grotesques are derived from the daily reality of the collectors who once cherished these images.

Street Photographer

Exotic Birds

Sweets & Dainties

Acrobat & Performing Dog

Performing Dogs

The Muffin Man

Street Musician

Street Musician








Lounge Lizard



Spraying the roads


Knife Grinder

Scottish Herring Girls followed the shoals around the East Coast, gutting and packing the herring.

Herring Girl

You may like to see these other scraps from my collection

Cries of London Scraps

Victorian Tradesmen Scraps

13 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 13, 2021

    As one of my best friends used to say “deeeeelightful!”

    Thanks for sharing and brightening up this gloomy day.

  2. January 13, 2021

    I loved the lounge lizard. He looks like he would cope well in lockdown. I hadn’t realised the term lounge lizard was so old. I had assumed it dated back to 1920s. This suggests it could be C18th term. Can anyone enlighten me?

  3. January 13, 2021

    Further to my earlier comment, it would seem someone (the Gentle Author perhaps?) is being a touch ironic. According to Wikipedia, the term Lounge Lizard dates back to 1915. Thank you GA for providing linguistic interest within my day.

  4. January 13, 2021

    Wonderful Collectibles!

    Love & Peace

  5. Linda Granfield permalink
    January 13, 2021

    Incredible colours and details! The shading in the Portcullis (last) scrap is wonderfully done. And to think how small these items are–the work is fine.

    Another S. Life book in the offing, perhaps?

    Thanks for brightening up this dreary Toronto morning!

  6. Christy S. permalink
    January 13, 2021

    Fantastic. Little jewels, all of them

  7. paul loften permalink
    January 13, 2021

    Your showing us this collection during these bleak times brings into focus how anti-human this world and our day to day life has become. Without us having the awareness of it having crept upon us. Here we have a collection of people at work seen in the streets we walk and live in. Men, women, street sellers, performers. All to see and enjoy or perhaps not. It is life before our eyes.
    We now live with life removed. Suspicious and fearful. In front of the screens. Walking down anonymous streets of concrete and glass blocks, oblivious of others. Fully occupied with the “life or death conversation” that cannot wait until you get home. Is it any wonder that we elect monsters for leaders and are proud of it . Thank you, Gentle Author for showing us your collection!

  8. Kate permalink
    January 13, 2021

    Every Spring, when the weather got a bit warmer, we little girls at Tang Hall Avenue
    school in York would sit on steps in the playground and Swap Scraps. These were real treasures in those paper-short wartime days! We never had gorgeous ones like your tradesmen; we had flowers, birds and animals that I can remember. fashionable ladies and, most prized of all, Angels. I have no idea what happened to them when we won our Grammar School scholarships!

  9. Cherub permalink
    January 13, 2021

    I come from the East Coast of Scotland and there is an excellent fisheries museum in the town of Anstruther in Fife. Thank you for showing the herring girls, they’re lovely.

  10. January 13, 2021

    These are just delightful….thank you so much for sharing your amazing collection. The Herring Girls are my favourite and today’s post has made a grey day seem much brighter.

  11. Irene Stephen-Jack permalink
    January 14, 2021

    Thanks for t Scottish herring gutting girls. Both my parents were part of that fishing heritage on t East coast of Aberdeenshire. My father was born in Anstruther, Fife, where his mother came from. She was a herring ‘Quine’ as they were called in Doric Scots. She hailed from the tiny fishing village of St Combs, where I was born, and moved back there with the husband she met in Anstruther when my father was 4.
    Did you know: during t great herring boom of t 19th century most of t herring caught and packed on t East coast of Scotland were exported along t Baltic Sea – t Ostsee (literally ‘The East Sea’) to Russia as a cheap source of very good protein. They were known as ‘easterlings’ and were such a valuable cash crop that they are t origin of our word ‘Sterling’ in English.
    Now…..not many people know that…..

  12. Pamela Traves permalink
    January 14, 2021

    Wonderful of this Vintage pictures of these statues!! I Love Them!!!????????

  13. Sonia Murray permalink
    January 15, 2021

    These scraps are so wonderfully detailed! Thanks, GA! Were they meant to be pasted into scrapbooks, or stood up like toy soldiers? Irene, thanks for the information about easterlings. Cousins of my Sufflings had a cannery at Yarmouth, but by the 80’s the dormitories for the Scotch fisher girls were boarded up and the trawlers were rusting at the docks. I was told that Russian factory ships had come with seine nets and fished out the North Sea, took so many fish the stock could not recover. When I was a child herrings were a poor man’s supper. The last time I saw one in London it was on a marble slab, like salmon.

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