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My Scrap Collection

March 31, 2024
by the gentle author

Join me for THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF THE CITY OF LONDON on Easter Monday 1st April at 2pm



For some years, I have been collecting Victorian scraps of tradesmen and street characters, and putting them in a drawer. The Easter holidays gives 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

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Andy permalink
    March 31, 2024

    All these evoke the memories .
    My favourite being the Chestnut seller who would appear in odd spots and markets and the scrap man whose shout I never understood .

    Seeing horses with nose bags and patting them and feeling their age .

    With best wishes ,

  2. March 31, 2024

    A fascinating collection of imaginary people going about their daily business. I don’t think I have seen this collection before. Thank you and Happy Easter to you dear GA.

  3. Marcia Howard permalink
    March 31, 2024

    I immediately wanted to burst into song with ‘Have you seen the Muffin Man, who lives down Drury Lane’. That tune’s going to go through my head all day now!

  4. Christine permalink
    March 31, 2024

    I love the images of the Cries of London! You have a super collection. I particularly like the Herring girls in their outfits very warm x

  5. Mark permalink
    March 31, 2024

    “Great Stuff!”
    Very interesting, bright and colourful.
    Loved the Herring girls and The Butcher…. interesting footwear… Sort of old fashioned Crock!
    I imagine they had wooden soles???

    Thank you


  6. March 31, 2024

    You’ve given us an Easter treat, with this beautiful collection. How fantastic that your collection of scraps is a continuation of the “Trades” you have curated over the years. And we, lucky readers, are the beneficiaries of your deep knowledge. As much as I love the cigarette cards you’ve shown us, these delightful/delicate scraps are a favorite.

    I have a large collection of scraps, as well as books on the subject. As a collage artist and collector, I appreciate vintage ephemera and have been lucky that other artists have contributed to my growing array. Flowers! Babies! Farm scenes! Military figures! Aquatic life! Its endless. I recently learned about a glorious (wearable!) artifact. “Fancy Dress Scrap Album” is a life-size gown made in London in (I believe) 1893. Imagine a lovely white gown with a draped neckline, pleated-tulle cap sleeves, a graceful circular long skirt…………(wait for it) everything covered in literally hundreds of vintage scraps. At the time it was common for young people to attend fancy dress balls, and they often dressed in “themed” garb. An anonymous young woman put her mania for scraps on display, and the complete ensemble included scrap-embellished shoes, sash and fan. Made for “one night only” this beautiful unique gown languished for decades and was recently restored; it is now part of a museum collection in Melbourne. Imagine the challenges of restoring a gown made mostly of ephemera?

  7. Eve permalink
    March 31, 2024

    And a colourful bunch of street characters too! Your treasured scrap book is delightful Easter treat, thank you..

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