London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Sellers of Second Editions.


THESE " editions" are, and almost universally, or later editions of the newspapers, morning and evening, but threefourths of the sale may be of the evening papers, and more especially of the and

I believe that there is not now in existence— unless it be in a workhouse and unknown to his fellows, or engaged in some other avocation and lost sight of by them—any who sold " editions" (the evening paper being then in the greatest demand) at the time of the Duke of York's Walcheren expedition, at the period of the battle of the Nile, during the continuance of the Peninsular war, or even at the battle of Waterloo. There were a few old men—some of whom had been soldiers or sailors, and others who have simulated it—surviving within these or years, and some later, who "worked Waterloo," but they were swept off, I was told, by the cholera.

I was assured by a gentlemen who had a perfect remembrance of the "second editions


(as they were generally called) sold in the streets, and who had often bought them upwards of years ago, that a sketch in the "Monthly Review," in a notice of Scott's "Lord of the Isles" (published in ), gave the best notion he had met with of what the edition sale really was. At the commencement of the canto of his poem, Sir Walter, somewhat too grandiloquently, in the judgment of his reviewer, asks—

O who, that shared them, ever shall forget

The emotions of the spirit-rousing time,

When breathless in the mart the couriers met,

Early and late, at evening and at prime?

Who," in his turn asks the reviewer, "can avoid conjuring up the idea of men with broad sheets of foolscap, scored with 'VICTORIES' rolled round their hats, and horns blowing loud defiance in each other's mouth, from the top to the bottom of Pall-mall or the Haymarket, when he reads such a passage? We actually hear the Park and Tower guns, and the clattering of ten thousand bells, as we read, and stop our ears from the close and sudden intrusion of some hot and horn-fisted patriot, blowing ourselves, as well as Bonaparte to the devil!

The horn carried by these "-fisted" men was a common tin tube, from to feet long, and hardly capable of being made to produce any sound beyond a sudden and discordant "trump, trump." The men worked with papers round their hats, in a way not very dissimilar to that of the running patterers of to-day.

The "editions" cried by these men during the war-time often contained spurious intelligence, but for that the editors of the journals were responsible—or the stock-jobbers who had imposed upon them. Any who has consulted a file of newspapers of the period to which I have referred, will remember how frequent, and how false, were the announcements, or the rumours, of the deaths of Bonaparte, his brothers, or his marshals, in battle or by assassination.

As there was no man who was personally conversant with this traffic in what is emphatically enough called the "war-time," I sought out an old street-patterer who had been acquainted with the older hands in the trade, whose experience stretched to the commencement of the present century, and from him I received the following account:

Oh, yes," he began, "I've worked 'seconds.' We used to call the editions generally seconds, and cry them sometimes, as the latest editions, whatever it was. There was Jack Griffiths, sir,—now wasn't he a hand at a second edition? I believe you. I do any kind of patter now myself, but I've done tidy on second editions, when seconds was to be had. Why, Jack Griffiths, sir—he'd been a sailor and was fond of talking about the sea—Jack Griffiths—you would have liked to have heard him—Jack told me that he once took 10s. 6d.—it was Hyde Park way—for a second edition of a paper when Queen Caroline's trial was over. Besides Jack, there was Tom Cole, called the Wooden Leg (he'd been a soldier I believe), and Whitechapel, and Old Brummagem, and Hell-fire Jack. Hell-fire Jack was said to be something to a man that was a trainer, and a great favourite of the old Duke of Queensberry, and was called Hell-fire Dick; but I can't say how it was. I began to work second editions, for the first time when George IV. died. They went off pretty well at 1s. a piece, and for three or four I got 2s. 6d. If it's anything good I get 1s. still, but very seldom any more. I always show anybody that asks that the paper is just what I've cried it. There's no regular cry; we cries what's up: 'Here's the second edition of the Globe with the full perticlers of the death of his Majesty King George IV.' We work much in the same way as the running patter. Three of us shouts in the same spot. I was one of three who one night sold five quires, mostly Globe and Standard. It was at the Reform Bill time, and something about the Reform Bill. I never much heeded what the paper was about. I only wanted the patter, and soon got it. A mate, or any of us, looks out for anything good in the evening papers, to be ready. Why that night I speak of I was kept running backards and for'ards to the newspaper offices—and how they does keep you waiting at times!—mostly the Globe and Standard; we worked them all at the West End. There's twenty-seven papers to a quire, and we gave 4d. a piece for 'em and sold none, as well as I mind, for under 1s. I carried them mostly under my arm or in my hat, taking care they wasn't spoiled. Belgravesquare way, and St. George's, Hanover-square way, and Hyde Park way, are the best. The City's no good. There's only sixpences there. The coffee-shops has spoiled the City, as I'm afeard they will other parts. Murders in second editions don't sell now, and aren't tried much, beyond a few, if there's a late verdict. Curviseer (Courvoisier) was tidy. The trial weren't over 'til evening, and I sold six papers, and got 7s. for them, to gentlemen going away by the mail. I've heard that Greenacre was good in the same way, but I wasn't in town at the time. The French Revolution—the last one—was certainly a fairish go. Lewis Fillup was good many ways. When he used to be shot at—if the news weren't too early in the day—and when he got to England, and when he was said to have got back, or to have been taken. Why, of course he wern't to compare with Rush in the regular patter, but he was very fair. I have nothing to say against him, and wish he was alive, and could do it all over again. Lord Brougham's death wern't worth much to us. You remember the time, I dare say, sir, when they said he killed hisself in the papers, to see what folks would say on him. The resignation of a prime minister is mostly pretty good. Lord Melbourne was, and so was Sir Robert Peel. There's always somebody to say, 'Hurra! that's right!' and to buy a paper because he's pleased. I had a red paper in my hat when I worked the French Revolution. French news is generally liked in a fashionable drag. Irish news is no good, for people don't seem to believe it. Smith O'Brien's battle, though, did sell a little. It's not possible to tell you exactly what I've made on seconds. How can I? One week I may have cleared 1l. in them, and for six months before not a blessed brown. Perhaps—as near as I can recollect and calculate—I've cleared 3l. (if that) each year, one with another, in second editions in my time, and perhaps twenty others has done the same.

Another man who also knew the old hands said to me: "Lord bless us, how times is changed! you should have heard Jack Griffiths tell how he cried his gazettes: ' the Ex-terornary, containing the hof-ficial account of the bloody and decisive wictory of Sally-manker.' Something that way. Patter wern't required then; the things sold theirselves. Why, the other day I was talking to a young chap that conceits hisself to be a hout-and-houter in patter, and I mentions Jack's crying and getting apiece for many a on 'em, and this young chap says, says he: ' What did they cry —bankrupts, and all that?' 'Bankrupts be blowed!' said I, 'wictories!' I heerd Waterloo cried when I was a little 'un. The speeches on the opening of parliament, which the newspapers has ready, has no sale in the crowd to what they had. I only sold papers at each this last go. I ventured on no more, or should have been a loser. If the Queen isn't there, none's sold. But we always has a speech ready, as close as can be got from what the morning papers says. gent. said to me: 'But that ain't the real speech!' 'It's a far better,' says I, and so it is. Why now, sir, there's some reading and spirit in this bit. The Queen says:

'It is my determination by the assistance of divine providence to uphold and protect the Protestant Church of the British Empire, which has been enjoyed years without interuption, the Religion which our ancestors struggled to obtain. And as long as it shall please God to spare me, I will endeavour to maintain the rights and perogatives of our holy Protestant Church. And now my Lords, I leave you to your duties, to the helm of the state, to the harbour of peace, and happiness.'"

This man showed me the street speech, which was on a broad sheet set off with the royal arms. The topics and arrangement were the same as those in the speech delivered by her Majesty.

On Monday morning last (), I asked the man who told me that prime ministers' resignations were "pretty good" for the street traffic, if he had been well remunerated by the sale of the evening papers of Saturday, with the account of Lord John Russell's resignation. "It wern't tried, sir," he answered; "there was nothing new in the evenings, and we thought nobody seemed to care about it. The newspaper offices and their boarders (as he called the men going about with announcements on boards) didn't make very much of it, so we got up a song instead; but it was no good,—not salt to a fresh herring—for there was some fresh herrings in. It was put strong, though. This was the last verse:

From the House to the Palace it has caused a bother,

Old women are tumbling one over another,

The Queen says it is with her, one thing or 'tother,

They must not discharge Little John;

Her Majesty vows that she is not contented,

And many ere long will have cause to repent it,

Had she been in the house she would nobly resent it,

And fought like a brick for Lord John.'

Adopting the calculation of my informant, and giving a profit of per cent., we find yearly expended in the streets, in editions, or probably it might be more correct to say in a year of great events, and in a year when such events are few.

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 Title Page
 The Street-Folk: Of Wandering Tribes in General
 Of the Wandering Tribes of this Country
 Of the London Street-Folk
Of the Number of Costermongers and Other Street-Folk
Of the Number of Costermongers and Other Street-Folk
Of the Varieties of Street-Folk in General, and Costermongers in Particular
Of Costermongering Mechanics
Ancient Calling of Costermongers
Of the Obsolete Cries of the Costermongers
Of the Costermongers 'Economically' Considered
The London Street Markets on a Saturday Night
The Sunday Morning Markets
Habits and amusements of Costermongers
Gambling of Costermongers
'Vic Gallery'
The Politics of Costermongers.-- Policemen
Marriage and Concubinage of Costermongers
Religion of Costermongers
Of the Uneducated State of Costermongers
Language of Costermongers
Of the Nicknames of Costermongers
Of the Education of Costermongers' Children
The Literature of Costermongers
Of the Honesty of Costermongers
Of the Conveyances of the Costermongers and Other Street-Sellers
Of the 'Smithfield Races'
Of the Donkeys of the Costermongers
Of the Costermongers' Capital
Of the 'Slang' Weights and Measures
Of Half Profits
Of the Boys of the Costermongers, and their Bunts
Of the Juvenile Trading of the Costermongers
Of the Education of the 'Coster-Lads'
The Life of a Coster-Lad
Of the 'Penny Gaff'
Of the Coster-Girls
The Life of a Coster Girl
Of Costermongers and Thieves
Of the More Provident Costermongers
Of the Homes of the Costermongers
Of the Dress of the Costermongers
Once Try You'll Come Again
Of the Diet and Drink of Costermongers
Of the Cries, Rounds, and Days of Costermongers
Of the Costermongers on their Country Rounds
Of the Earnings of Costermongers
Of the Capital and Income of the Costermongers
Of the Providence and Improvidence of Costermongers
Of the Costermongers in Bad Weather and During the Cholera
Of the Costermongers' Raffles
Of the Markets and Trade Rights of the Costerongers, and of the Laws Affecting Them
Of the Removals of Costermongers From the Streets
Of the Tricks of Costermongers
Of the Street-Sellers of Fish
Of Sprat-Selling in the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Fruit and Vegetables
Of the Stationary Street-Sellers of Fish, Fruit, and Vegetables
Of the Street-Irish
Of the Street-Sellers of Game, Poultry (Live and Dead), Rabbits, Butter, Cheese, and Eggs
Of the Sellers of Trees, Shrubs, Flowers (Cut and In Pots), Roots, Seeds, and Branches
Street-Sellers of Green Stuff
Of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Pea-Soup and Hot Eels
Of the Experience of a Hot-Eel and Pea-Soup Man
Of the Street-Sellers of Pickled Whelks
Of the Customers, Etc., of Pickled Whelk-Sellers
Of the Street Sellers, and of the Preparation of Fried Fish
Of the Experience of a Fried Fish- Seller, and of the Class of Customers
Of the Preparation and Quantity of Sheep's Trotters, and of the Street-Sellers
Statements of Sheep's Trotter Women
Of the Street Trade in Baked Potatoes
Of 'Trotting,' or 'Hawking' Butchers
Of the Experience of a Hawking Butcher
Of the Street-Sellers of Ham-Sandwiches
Of the Experience of a Ham Sandwich- Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Bread
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot Green Peas
Of the Experience of a Hot Green Pea Seller
Of Cats' and Dogs'--Meat Dealers
Of the Street-Sale of Drinkables
Of Coffee-Stall Keepers
Of the Street Sale of Ginger-Beer, Sherbet, Lemonade, &c
Of the Experience and Customers of A Ginger-Beer Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot Elder Wine
Of the Street Sale of Peppermint-Water
Of Milk Selling in St. James's Park
Of the Street Sale of Milk
Of the Street-Sale of Curds and Whey
Of the Street-Sellers of Rice-Milk
Of Water-Carriers
Of the Street-Sellers of Pastry and Confectionary
Of Street Piemen
Of the Street-Sellers of Boiled Puddings
Of the Street-Sellers of Plum 'Duff' or Dough
Of the Street-Sellers of Cakes, Tarts, &c.
Of Other Cake-Sellers in the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Gingerbread- Nuts, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Hot-Cross Buns, and of Chelsea Buns
Of Muffin and Crumpet-Selling in the Streets
Of the Street Sale of Sweet-Stuff
Of the Customers of the Sweet-Stuff Street-Sellers
Of the Street-Sellers of Cough Drops and of Medical Confectionary
'Lohoch de farfara,' the Lohoch of Coltsfoot
Of the Street-Sellers of Ices and of Ice Creams
Of the Capital and Income of the Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Capital, or Stock in Trade, of the Street- Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Income, or 'Takings,' of Street-Sellers of Eatables and Drinkables
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, &c.
Of the Former and Present Street- Patterers
Of the Habits, Opinions, Morals, and Religion of Patterers Generally
Of the Publishers and authors of Street-Literature
Of Long Song-Sellers
Of Running Patterers
Experience of a Running Patterer
Of the Recent Experience of a Running Patterer
Of the Chaunters
Of the Experience of a Chaunter
Of the Death and Fire Hunters
Of the Sellers of Second Editions
Of the Standing Patterers
Experience of a Standing Patterer
Of Political Litanies, Dialogues, etc.
Of 'Cocks,' Etc.
Of 'Strawing'
Of the Sham indecent Street-Trade
Of Religious Tract Sellers
Of a Benefit Society of Patterers
Of the Abodes, Tricks, Marriage, Character, and Characteristics of the Different Grades of Patterers
Of the Low Lodging-Houses of London
Of the Filth, Dishonesty, and Immorality of Low Lodging-Houses
Of the Children in Low Lodging- Houses
Of the Low Lodging-Houses Throughout the Country
Of the Street Stationers, and the Street Card-Sellers
Of the Seller of the Penny Short-Hand Cards
The Lecture
'I perish with hunger'
Of the Sellers of Race Cards and Lists
Of the Street-Sellers of Gelatine, of Engraved, and of Playing Cards, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Stationery
Of the Experience of a Street- Stationer
Of a 'Reduced' Gentlewoman, and a 'Reduced' Tradesman, as Street-Sellers of Stationery
Of the Street-Sale of Memorandum- Books and Almanacks
Of the Street-Sale of Pocket-Books and Diaries
Of the Street-Sellers of Songs
Of the Street 'Pinners-up,' or Wall Song-Sellers
Of Ancient and Modern Street Ballad Minstrelsy
Of Street 'Ballads on a Subject'
Of the Street Poets and Authors
Of the Experience of a Street Author, or Poet
Of the Street-Sellers of Broad-Sheets
Of the 'Gallows' Literature of the Streets
Of the Street-Sellers of Conundrums
Of the Street-Sellers of Comic Exhibitions, Magical Delusions, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Play-Bills
Of the Street-Sellers of Periodicals, Pamphlets, Tracts, Books, Etc.
Of the Street-Sale of Back Numbers
Of the Sale of Waste Newspapers at Billingsgate
Of the Sale of Periodicals on the Steam- Boats and Steam-Boat Piers
Of the Sale of Newspapers, Books, &c., at the Railway Stations
Of the Street Booksellers
Of the Character of Books of the Street-Sale
Of the Experience of a Street Book- Seller
Of Street Book-Auctioneers
Of the Street-Sale of Song-Books, and of Children's Books
Of the Street-Sellers of Account-Books
Of the Street-Sellers of Guide-Books, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Fine Arts
Of Street Art
Of the Street-Sellers of Engravings, Etc., in Umbrellas, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Pictures in Frames
Of the Street-Sellers of Manuscript and Other Music
Of the Capital and Income of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
Capital or Value of the Stock-in-Trade of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature and the Fine Arts
Income, or Average Annual 'Takings,' of the Street-Sellers of Stationery, Literature, and the Fine Arts
An Epitome of the Pattering Class
Of the 'Screevers,' or Writers of Begging-Letters and Petitions
'God Save the Queen'
Of the Probable Means of Reformation
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles in Metal
Of the Cheap Johns, or Street Han- Sellers
'The Original Cheap John'
The Crippled Street-Seller of Nut- Meg-Graters
Of the Swag-Shops of the Metropolis
Shopkeepers and Dealers Supplied with the Following Articles --
Of the Life of a Cheap-John
The Street-Sellers of Cutlery
Of the Blind Street-Sellers of Tailors' Needles, etc.
The Public-House Hawkers of Metal Spoons, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Jewellery
Of the Pedlar-Jewellers
Of the Street-Sellers of Card-Counters, Medals, Etc.
The Construction is of Iron and of Glass, 1848 Feet Long. about Half is 456 Wide. the Remainder 408 Feet Wide, and 66 Feet High; Site, Upwards of 20 acres. Josh. Paxton, archt.
Of the Street-Sellers of Rings and Sovereigns For Wagers
Of the Street-Sellers of Children's Gilt Watches
Of the Street-Sellers of Tinware
Of the Life of a Tin-Ware Seller
Of the Street-Sellers of Dog-Collars
Of the Life of a Street-Seller of Dog- Collars
Of the Street-Sellers of Tools
Of the Beggar Street-Sellers
Pike's Patent Cotton. 120 Yards
'The Lace-Makers' Appeal'
'ALLEN, Printer, Long-row, Nottingham'
Of the 'House of Lords,' a Street-Seller's Defunct Club
Of the Street-Sellers of Crockery and Glass-Wares
Of the 'Swag,' Crockery, and Glass Shops
Of the Street-Sellers of Spar and China Ornaments, and of Stone Fruit
Of the Street-Sellers of Textile Fabrics
Of the Haberdashery Swag-Shops
Of Hawkers, Pedlars, and Petty Chapmen
Of the Packmen, or Hawkers of Soft Wares
Statement of a Packman
Of the Tally Packman
Of the 'Duffers' or Hawkers of Pretended Smuggled Goods
Of the Street-Sellers of 'Small-Ware,' or Tape, Cotton, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Lace
Of the Street-Sellers of Japanned Table- Covers
Of the Street-Sellers of Braces, Belts, Hose, Trowser-Straps, and Waistcoats
Of the Street-Sellers of Boot and Stay- Laces, &c.
Of a Blind Female Seller of 'Small-Wares'
The Blind Street-Seller of Boot-Laces
Of the Life of a Blind Boot-Lace Seller
Of the Low Lodging-Houses
Statement of a Young Pickpocket
Statement of a Prostitute
Statement of a Beggar
Meeting of Thieves
Of the Country Lodging-Houses
Of the Street-Sellers of Chemical Articles of Manufacture
Of the Street-Sellers of Blacking, Black Lead, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of French Polish
Of the Street-Sellers of Grease-Removing Compositions
Of the Street-Sellers of Corn-Salve
Of the Street-Sellers of Glass and China Cement, and of Razor Paste
Of the Street-Seller of Crackers and Detonating Balls
Of the Street-Sellers of Lucifer-Matches
Of the Street-Sellers of Cigar Lights, or Fuzees
Of the Street-Sellers of Gutta-Percha Heads
Of the Street-Sellers of Fly-Papers and Beetle-Wafers
Of the Street-Sellers of Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Walking-Sticks
Of the Street-Sellers of Whips, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Pipes, and of Snuff and Tobacco Boxes
Of the Street-Sellers of Cigars
Of the Street-Sellers of Sponge
Of the Street-Sellers of Wash-Leathers
Of the Street-Sellers of Spectacles and Eye-Glasses
Of the Street-Sellers of Dolls
Of the 'Swag-Barrowmen,' and 'Lot- Sellers'
Of the Street-Sellers of Roulette Boxes
Of the Street-Sellers of Poison For Rats
Of the Street-Sellers of Rhubarb and Spice
Of the Hawking of Tea
Of the Women Street-Sellers
Of the Children Street-Sellers of London