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My Cries Of London Scraps

September 13, 2023
by the gentle author

As part of this year’s Bartholomew Fair in Smithfield, I shall be giving an illustrated lecture in St Bartholomew’s Church at 7pm on Friday 15th September about my love for the CRIES OF LONDON, showing my favourite images of four hundred years of street life in the capital.




These modest Victorian die-cut scraps 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


Click here to discover more about this autumn’s blog course

One Response leave one →
  1. September 13, 2023

    I am looking forward very much to your talk on Friday. I have also booked to visit Hoxton Hall, 195 Mare Street, a Roman amphitheatre and church crypt in Clerkenwell on Saturday. A full semi-weekend of interesting things!
    The majority of scraps show traders in full cry. One of my favourite parts of the film of Lionel Bart’s Oliver, is how the director wove together all of the fictional street cries into the song “Who will buy?” I realise that it was a stylised pastiche, but it still appeals to me.

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