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Victorian Tradesmen Scraps

September 10, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my tour throughout September & October



As my collection of the Cries of London grew through the years, I widened the scope of the endeavour to include images of all tradesmen and these die-cut Victorian scraps.

Enlarged here 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

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Cherub permalink
    September 10, 2022

    These are lovely – one of my favourite pleasures as a child was keeping a scrap book.

    I’m 61 now and people sometimes give me notebooks with attractive hard covers. I collect and paste all sorts in them – recipes, tips, useful magazine articles – I guess it’s just an adult version of what I did as a child ?

  2. September 10, 2022

    I’m a paper hound, collector of ephemera, and a collage artist —- so this has great appeal for me.
    I’ve gathered scraps over the years, and have done a bit of reading about them — but this wonderful grouping makes me want to print these characters out on cardstock and turn them into on-stage characters in a little paper theater. Can’t you imagine it? The hustle and bustle. I imagine painting little props — over-turned barrels, burlap sacks, towers of old wooden boxes, the scattered debris of an active marketplace. A fun backdrop inspired by old images from Spitalfields Life. Every merchant/tradesman frozen in time, centerstage.

    I work with paper every day. It has been a constant in my life, from childhood — and the urge to
    “make things” never dims. Thanks for always shining a light.

  3. Andy permalink
    September 12, 2022

    I am told by my friend of an old man with a hunched back who painted people’s door knockers black and only charged one old penny. This was in Bellingham
    South London.
    My Mum like a lot of my Mums used to clean jer front step.

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