London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Street-Sellers of Comic Exhibi- Tions, Magical Delusions, &c.


THE street sale of "Comic Exhibitions" (properly so called) is, of course, as modern as the last autumn and winter; and it is somewhat curious that the sale of any humorous, or meant to be humorous sheet of engravings, is now becoming very generally known in the street sale as a "Comic Exhibition." Among these—as I have before intimated—are many caricatures of the Pope, the Church of Rome, Cardinal Wiseman, the Church of England, the Bishop of London (or any bishop or dignitary), or of any characteristic of the conflicting creeds. In many of these, John Bull figures personally, and so does the devil.

The Comic Exhibition (proper) is certainly a very cheap pennyworth. No. is entitled, "The Ceremonial of the Opening of the Great Exhisition, in , with Illustrations of the Contributions of All Nations." The "contributions," however, are reserved for Nos. and . larger "cuts," at the head of the broad-sheet, may be considered geographical, as regards the , and allegorical as regards the . "Table Bay" presents a huge feeder (evidently), and the "Cape of Good Hope" is a spare man obsequiously bowing to the table and its guest in good hope of a dinner. Of the Sandwich Islands and of Hung(a)ry, the "exhibition" is of the same description. The larger cut shows the Crystal Palace ascending by the agency of a balloon, a host of people of all countries looking on. Then comes the


'Procession from Palace-yard to ." The figure in this procession is described as "Beefeaters piping hot and well puffed out," though there is but beefeater, with head larger than his body and legs ridiculously, small (as have nearly all the sequent figures), smoking a pipe as if it were a trombone, duly followed by "Her Majesty's Spiritual Bodyguard" ( beefeaters, drunk), and by "Prince Albert blowing his own trumpet" (from the back of a very sorry steed), with "Mops and brooms," and a "Cook-oo" (a housemaid and cook) as his supporters. Then follow figures, grotesque enough, of which the titles convey the character: "A famous Well-in-Town;" "Nae Peer-ye;" "Humorous Estimates" (Mr. Hume); "A Jew-d' esprit" (Mr. D'Israeli); "An exemplification of Cupidity in Pummicestone" (Lord Palmerston); "Old Geese" and "Young Ducks" (old and angrylooking and young and pretty women); "Some gentlemen who patronise Moses in the Minories" (certainly no credit to the skill of a tailor); "A Jew Lion" (M. Jullien); "Fine high screams" (ice-creams) and "Capers" (chorister boys and ballet-girls); "Hey-day, you don't take advantage here" (Joseph Ady); and "Something to give the milk a head" (a man with a horse's head on a tray). These, however, are but a portion of the figures. The Comic Exhibition-sheet contains such figures, independent of those in the cuts mentioned as headings.

Galleries of Comicalities," or series of figures sometimes satirically, sometimes grotesquely given without any aim at satire, are also sold by the same parties, and are often announced as a "Threepenny gallery for a penny!—and dirt cheap at threepence. As big as a newspaper.

Another broad-sheet sold this winter in the streets is entitled, "Optical and Magical Delusions," and was announced as "Dedicated to and Prepared for his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales—the only original copy." The engravings are in number, and are in rows, each accompanying engraving being reversed from its fellow: where the head is erect on side, it is downward on the other. The figure is a short length of a very plain woman, while on the opposite side is that of a very plain man, both pleased and smirking in accordance with a line below: "O what joy when our lips shall meet!" "Cat-a-gorical" is a spectacled and hooded cat. "Dog-matical" is a dog with the hat, wig, and cane once held proper to a physician. "Cross purposes" is an austere lady in a monster cap, while her opposite husband is pointing bitterly to a long bill. The purport of these figures is shown in the following

DIRECTIONS—Paste all over the Back of the sheet, and put a piece of thick paper between, to stiffen it, then fold it down the centre, so that the marginal lines fall exactly at the back of each other, (which may be ascertained by holding it to the light)—press it quite flat—when cut separate they will make three cards— shave them close to the margin—then take a needle- full of double thread and pass it through the dot at each end of the card; cut the thread off about three inches long. By twisting the threads between your fore fingers and thumbs, so as to spin the card round backwards and forwards with a rapid motion, the figures will appear to connect and form a pleasing delusion.

Then there are the "Magical Figures," or rude street imitations of Dr. Paris' ingenious toy, called the "Thaumascope." Beside these are what at the glance appear mere black, and very black, marks, defining no object; but a closer examination shows the outlines of a face, or of a face and figure. Of such there are sometimes on a broad-sheet, but they are also sold separately, both in the streets and the small stationers' shops. When the white or black portion of the paper is cut away (for both colours are so prepared), what remains, by a disposition of the light, throws a huge shadow of a grotesque figure on the wall, which may be increased or diminished according to the motions of the exhibitor. The shadow-figures sold this winter by of my informants were of Mr. and Mrs. Manning, the Queen, Prince Albert, the Princess Royal, and the Prince of Wales; "but you see, sir," observed the man, "the Queen and the Prince does for any father and mother—for she hasn't her crown on—and the Queen's kids for anybody's kids."

I mention these matters more particularly, as it certainly shows something of a change in the winter-evenings' amusements of the children of the working-classes. The principal street customers for these penny papers were mechanics, who bought them on their way home for the amusement of their families. Boys, however, bought almost as many.

The sale of these papers is carried on by the same men as I have described working conundrums. A superior patterer, of course, shows that his magical delusions and magical figures combine all the wonders of the magic lantern and the dissolving views, "and all for penny." The trade is carried on only for a short time in the winter as regards the magical portion; and I am informed that, including the "Comic Exhibitions," it extends to about half of the sum taken for conundrums, or to about

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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