London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Low Lodging-Houses Through- Out the Country.


FURTHER to elucidate this subject, full of importance, as I have shown, I give an account of low lodging-houses (or "padding-kens") at the "stages" (so to speak) observed by a patterer "travelling" from London to Birmingham.

I give the several towns which are the usual sleeping places of the travellers, with the character and extent of the accommodation provided for


them, and with a mention of such incidental matters as seemed to me, in the account I received, to be curious or characteristic. Circuitous as is the route, it is the generally followed. Time is not an object with a travelling patterer. "If I could do better in the way of tin," said of the fraternity to me, "in a country village than in London, why I'd stick to the village— if the better tin lasted—for months; aye, sir, for years. What's places to a man like me, between grub and no grub?" It is probable that on a trial, such a man would soon be weary of the monotony of a village life; but into that question I need not now enter.

I give each stage without the repetition of stating that from "here to there" is so many miles; and the charge for a lodging is at such and such a rate. The distance most frequently "travelled" in a day varies from to miles, according to the proximity of the towns, and the character and capabilities (for the patterer's purposes) of the locality. The average charge for a lodging, in the better sort of country lodging-houses, is a night,—at others, In a slack time, a traveller, for , has a bed to himself. In a busy time—as at fairs or races— he will account himself fortunate if he obtain share of a bed for At some of the places characterised by my informant as "rackety," "queer," or "Life in London," the charge is as often as

The stage, then, most commonly attained on tramp, is—

—"It's a good circuit, sir," said my principal informant, "and if you want to see life between from London to Birmingham, why you can stretch it and see it for miles." The Romford "house of call" most frequented by the class of whom I treat, is the King's Arms (a public-house.) There is a back-kitchen for the use of travellers, who pay something extra if they choose to resort, and are decent enough to be admitted, into the tap-room. "Very respectable, sir," said an informant, "and a proper division of married and single, of men and women. Of course they don't ask any couple to show their marriage lines; no more than they do any lord and lady, or that ain't a lady, if she's with a lord, at any fash'nable hotel at Brighton. I've done tidy well on slums about 'ladies in a Brighton hotel,' just by the Steyne; werry tidy." In this house they make up beds; some of them with curtains.

—The Queens (a beer-shop.) "A rackety place, sir," said the man, " of the showfuls; a dicky ; a free-and-easy. You can get a pint of beer and a punch of the head, all for As for sleeping on a Saturday night there, 'O, no, we never mention it.' It mayn't be so bad, indeed it ain't, as some London lodging-houses, because there ain't the chance, and there's more known about it." beds.

—The Castle (a beer-shop.) "Takes in all sorts and all sizes; all colours and all nations; similar to what's expected of the Crys- tal Palace. I was a when I was there—why, a muck-snipe, sir, is a man regularly done up, coopered, and humped altogether —and it was a busyish time, and when the deputy paired off the single men, I didn't much like my bed-mate. He was a shabby-genteel, buttoned up to the chin, and in the tract line. I thought of Old Scratch when I looked at him, though he weren't a Scotchman, I think. I tipped the wink to an acquaintance there, and told him I thought my old complaint was coming on. That was, to kick and bite like a horse, in my sleep, a'cause my mother was terrified by a wicious horse not werry long afore I was born. So I dozed on the bed-side, and began to whinny; and my bed-mate jumped up frightened, and slept on the floor." beds.

—"A poor place, but I stay days, it's so comfortable and so country, at the Rose and Crown. It's a sort of rest. It's decent and comfortable too, and it's about a night to me for singing and patter in the taproom. That's my cokum (advantage)." beds.

—The Castle. "Better now —was very queer. Slovenly as could be, and you had to pay for fire, though it was a house of call for curriers and other tradesmen, but they never mix with us. The landlord don't care much whose admitted, or how they go on." beds.

—"The grand town of all. London in miniature. It would be better but for the police. I don't mean the college bull-dogs. They don't interfere with us, only with women. The last time I was at Cambridge, sir, I hung the Mannings. It was the day, or days, I'm not sure which, after their trial. We pattered at night, too late for the collegians to come out. We 'worked' about where we knew they lodged—I had a mate with me—and some of the windows of their rooms, in the colleges themselves, looks into the street. We pattered about later news of Mr. and Mrs. Manning. Up went the windows, and cords was let down to tie the papers to. But we always had the money . We weren't a-going to trust such out-and-out going young coves as them. young gent. said: 'I'm a sucking parson; won't you trust ' 'No,' says I, 'we'll not trust Father Peter.' So he threw down and let down his cord, and he says, 'Send up.' We saw it was Victoria's head all right, so we sends up . 'Where's the others?' says he. 'O,' says I, 'they're a piece, and a piece extra for hanging Mr. and Mrs. Manning, as we have, to a cord; so it's all right.' Some laughed, and some said, 'D—n you, wait till I see you in the town.' But they hadn't that pleasure. Yorkshire Betty's is the head quarters at Cambridge,—or in Barnwell, of course, there's no such places in Cambridge. It's known as 'W— and Muck Fort.' It's the real college touch—the seat of learning, if you're seeing life. The college lads used to look in there oftener than they do now. They're get-


ting shyer. Men won't put up with black eyes for nothing. Old Yorkshire Betty's a motherly body, but she's no ways particular in her management. Higgledy-piggledy; men and women; altogether." beds.

—"The Woolpack. A lively place; middling other ways. There's generally money to be had at Newmarket. I don't stay there so long as some, for I don't care about racing; and the poorest snob there's a sporting character." beds.

—"Old Jack Something's. He was a publican for years. But he broke, and I've heard him say that if he hadn't been a player on the fiddle, he should have destroyed his-self. But his fiddle diverted him in his troubles. He has a real Cremona, and can't he play it? He's played at dances at the Duke of Norfolk's. I've heard him give the tune he played on his wedding night, years and years back, before I was born. He's a noblelooking fellow; the fac-simile of Louis Philippe. It's a clean and comfortable, hard and honest place." beds.

—"A private house; I forget the landlord's name. The magistrates is queer there, and so very little work can be done in my way. I've been there when I was the only lodger." beds.

—"The Tom and Jerry. Very queer. No back kitchen or convenience. A regular rough place. Often quarrelling there all night long. Any caper allowed among men and women. The landlord's easy frightened." beds.

—"Plume of Feathers. Passable." beds.

—"Bell and Dicky, and very dicky too. Queer doings in the dos (sleeping) and everything. It's an out-of-the-way place, or the town's people might see to it, but they won't take any notice unless some traveller complains, and they won't complain. They're a body of men, sir, that don't like to run gaping to a beak. The landlord seems to care for nothing but money. He takes in all that offer. in a bed often; men, women, and children mixed together. It's anything but a tidy place." beds.

—The Cock. "Life in London, sir; I can't describe it better. Life in Keate-street, Whitechapel." beds.

—"I don't mind the name. A most particular place. You must go to bed by , or be locked out. It's hard and honest; clean and rough." beds.

—"A private house. Smith or Jones, I know, or some common name. Ducker, the soldier that was shot in the Park by Annette Meyers, lived there. I worked him there myself, and everybody bought. I did the guntrick, sir, (had great success.) It's an inferior lodging place. They're in no ways particular, not they, who they admit or how they dos. At a fair-time, the goings on is anything but fair." beds.

—"Mrs. Bull's. Comfortable and decent. She takes in the , to oblige her travellers. It's a nice, quiet, Sunday house." beds.

—"There's a good lady there gives away tracts and half-a-crown. A private house is the traveller's house, and some new name. Middling accommodation." beds.

—"A private house, and I'll go there no more. Very queer. Not the least comfort or decency. They're above their business, I think, and take in too many, and care nothing what the travellers do. Higgledy-piggledy togegether." beds.

—"The Rookery. over again, sir, especially at Black Jack's. He shakes up the beds with a pitchfork, and brings in straw if there's more than can possibly be crammed into the beds. He's a fighting man, and if you say a word, he wants to fight you." beds.

—"The Tea-board. Comfortable." beds.

—"The same style as Hinckley. A private house." beds.

—"Deserves to be sent further. Bill Cooper's. A dilapidated place, and no sleep, for there's armies of bugs,—great black fellows. I call it the Sikh war there, and they're called Sikhs there, or Sicks there, is the vermin; but I'm sick of all such places. They're not particular there,—certainly not." beds.

—"Mrs. Leach's. Comfortable and decent, and a good creature. I know there's plenty of houses in Birmingham bad enough,— London reduced, sir; but I can't tell you about them from my own observation, 'cause I always go to Mrs. Leach's." beds.

Here, then, in the route most frequented by the pedestrian "travellers," we find, taking merely the accommodation of house in each place (and in some of the smaller towns there is but ), a supply of beds which may nightly accommodate, on an average, inmates, reckoning at the rate of sleepers to every beds. At busy times, double the number will be admitted. And to these places resort the beggar, the robber, and the pickpocket; the street--patterer and the streettrader; the musician, the ballad-singer, and the street-performer; the diseased, the blind, the lame, and the half-idiot; the outcast girl and the hardened prostitute; young and old, and of all complexions and all countries.

Nor does the enumeration end here. To these places must often resort the wearied mechanic, travelling in search of employment, and even the broken-down gentleman, or scholar, whose means do not exceed

A curious history might be written of the frequenters of low lodging-houses. Dr. Johnson relates, that when Dean Swift was a young man, he paid a yearly visit from Sir William Temple's seat, Moor Park, to his mother at Leicester.


"He travelled on foot, unless some violence of weather drove him into a waggon; and at night he would go to a penny lodging, where he purchased clean sheets for sixpence. This practice Lord Orrery imputes to his (Swift's) innate love of grossness and vulgarity; some may ascribe it to his desire of surveying human life through all its varieties." Perhaps it might not be very difficult to trace, in Swift's works, the influence upon his mind of his lodging-house experience.

The same author shows that his friend, Richard Savage, in the bitterness of his poverty, was also a lodger in these squalid dens: "He passed the night sometimes in mean houses, which are set open at night to any casual wanderer; sometimes in cellars, among the riot and filth of the meanest and most profligate of the rabble." A Richard Savage of to-day might, under similar circumstances, have the same thing said of him, except that "cellars" might now be described as "ground-floors."

The great, and sometimes the only, luxury of the frequenters of these country lodging-houses is tobacco. A man or women who cannot smoke, I was told, or was not "hardened" to tobacco smoke, in a low lodging-house was halfkilled with coughing. Sometimes a couple of men, may be seen through the thick vapour of the tobacco-smoke, peering eagerly over soiled cards, as they play at all-fours. Sometimes there is an utter dulness and drowsiness in the common sitting-room, and hardly a word exchanged for many minutes. I was told by man of experience in these domiciles, that he had not very unfrequently heard men who were conversing together in a low tone, and probably agreeing upon some nefarious course, stop suddenly, when there was a pause in the general conversation, and look uneasily about them, as if apprehensive and jealous that they had been listened to. A "stranger" in the lodging-house is regarded with a minute and often a rude scrutiny, and often enough would not be admitted, were not the lodging-house keeper the party concerned, and he of course admits "all what pays."

patterer told me of "inscriptions," as he called them, which he had noticed in country lodgings he had lately visited; the was:—

"He who smokes, thinks like a philosopher, and feels like a philanthropist."—

The was an intimation from the proprietor of the house, which, in spite of its halting explanation, is easily understood:—

No sickness allowed, unles by order of the Mare.

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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