London Labour and the London Poor, volume 3

Mayhew, Henry


The German Street Bands.


NEXT come the German Bands. I had the following statement from a young flaxenhaired and fresh-coloured German, who spoke English very fairly:—

I am German, and have been six year in zis country. I was nearly fourteen when I come. I come from Oberfeld, eighteen miles from Hanover. I come because I would like to see how it was here. I heard zat London was a goot place for foreign music. London is as goot a place as I expect to find him. There was other six come over with me, boys and men. We come to Hull, and play in ze country about half a year; we do middling. And zen we come to London. I didn"t make money at first when I come, I had much to learn; but ze band, oh! it did well. We was seven. I play ze clarionet, and so did two others; two play French horns, one ze trambone, and one ze saxhorn. Sometime we make 7s. or 8s. a-piece in a-day now, but the business is not so goot. I reckon 6s. a-day is goot now. We never play at fairs, nor for caravans. We play at private parties or public ball-rooms, and are paid so much a dance— sixpence a dance for ze seven of us. If zare is many dances, it is goot; if not, it is bad. We play sheaper zan ze English, and we don"t spent so much. Ze English players insult us, but we don"t care about that. Zey abuse us for playing sheap. I don"t know what zair terms for dances are. I have saved money in zis country, but very little of it. I want to save enough to take me back to Hanover. We all live togeder, ze seven of us. We have three rooms to sleep in, and one to eat in. We are all single men, but one; and his wife, a German woman, lives wis us, and cooks for us. She and her husband have a bedroom to themselves. Anysing does for us to eat. We all join in housekeeping and lodging, and pay alike. Our lodging costs 2s. a-week each, our board costs us about 15s. a-week each; sometime rather less. But zat include beer; and ze London beer is very goot, and sometime we drink a goot deal of it. We drink very little gin, but we live very well, and have goot meals every day. We play in ze streets, and I zink most places are alike to us. Ladies and gentlemen are our best friends; ze working people give us very little. We play opera tunes chiefly. We don"t associate with any Englishmen. Zare are three public-houses kept by Germans, where we Germans meet. Sugar-bakers and other trades are of ze number. There are now five German brass-bands, with thirty-seven performers in zem, reckon- ing our own, in London. Our band lives near Whitechapel. I sink zare is one or two more German bands in ze country. I sink my countrymen, some of them, save money; but I have not saved much yet.

This object is in collection Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 Title Page
Chapter I: The Destroyers of Vermin
Our Street Folk - Street Exhibitors
Chapter III: - Street Musicians
Chapter IV: - Street Vocalists
Chapter V: - Street Artists
Chapter VI: - Exhibitors of Trained Animals
Chapter VII: Skilled and Unskilled Labour - Garret-Masters
Chapter VIII: - The Coal-Heavers
Chapter IX: - Ballast-Men
Chapter X: - Lumpers
Chapter XI: Account of the Casual Labourers
 Chapter XII: Cheap Lodging-Houses
Chapter XIII: On the Transit of Great Britain and the Metropolis
Chapter XIV: London Watermen, Lightermen, and Steamboat-Men
Chapter XV: London Omnibus Drivers and Conductors
Chapter XVI: Character of Cabdrivers
Chapter XVII: Carmen and Porters
Chapter XVIII: London Vagrants
 Chapter XIX: Meeting of Ticket-of-Leave Men