London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Street-Sellers of Engravings, Etc., in Umbrellas, Etc.


THE sale of "prints," "pictures," and "engravings"—I heard them designated by each term—in umbrellas in the streets, has been known, as far as I could learn from the streetfolk for some years, and has been general from to years. In this traffic the umbrella is inverted and the "stock" is disposed within its expanse. Sometimes narrow tapes are attached from rib to rib of the umbrella, and within these tapes are placed the pictures, resting upon another. Sometimes a few pins are used to attach the larger prints to the cotton of the umbrella, the smaller ones being "fitted in at the side" of the bigger. "Pins is best, sir, in my opinion," said a little old man, who used to have a "print umbrella" in the New Cut; "for the public has a more unbrokener display. I used werry fine pins, though they's dearer, for people as has a penny to spare likes to see things nice, and big pins makes big holes in the pictures."

This trade is most pursued on still summer evenings, and the use of an inverted umbrella seems so far appropriate that it can only be so used, in the street, in weather. "I used to keep a sharp look-out, sir," said the same informant, "for wind or rain, and many's the time them devils o' boys—God forgive me,


they's on'y poor children—but they devils— has come up to me and has said— in particler, standin' afore the rest: 'It'll thunder in minutes, old bloke, so hup with yer humbereller, and go 'ome; hup with it jist as it is; it'll show stunnin; and sell as yer goes.' O, they're a shocking torment, sir; nobody can feel it like people in the streets,—shocking."

The engravings thus sold are of all descriptions. Some have evidently been the frontispieces of sixpenny or lower-prieed works. These works sometimes fall into hands of the "waste collectors," and any "illustrations" are extracted from the letter-press and are disposed of by the collectors, by the gross or dozen, to those warehousemen who supply the small shopkeepers and the street-sellers. Sometimes, I was informed, a number of engravings, which had for a while appeared as "frontispieces" were issued for sale separately. Many of these were and are found in the "street umbrellas;" more especially the portraits of popular actors and actresses. "Mr. J. P. Kemble, as Hamlet"— "Mr. Fawcett, as Captain Copp"—"Mr. Young, as Iago"—"Mr. Liston, as Paul Pry"—"Mrs. Siddons, as Lady Macbeth"— "Miss O'Neil, as Belvidera," &c., &c. In the course of an inquiry into the subject nearly a year and a half ago, I learned from "umbrella man" that, or years previously, he used to sell more portraits of "Mr. Edmund Kean, as Richard III.," than of anything else. Engravings, too, which had been admired in the "Annuals"—when halfa-guinea was the price of the "Literary Souvenir," the "Forget-me-not," "Friendship's Offering," the "Bijou," &c., &c.—are frequently found in these umbrellas; and amongst them are not unfrequently seen portraits of the aristocratic beauties of the day, from "waste" "Flowers of Loveliness" and old "Court Magazines," which "go off very fair." The majority of these street-sold "engravings" are "coloured," in which state the street-sellers prefer them, thinking them much more saleable, though the information I received hardly bears out their opinion.

The following statement, from a middle-aged woman, further shows the nature of the trade, and the class of customers:

I've sat with an umbrella," she said, "these seven or eight years, I suppose it is. My husband's a penny lot-seller, with just a middling pitch" [the vendor of a number of articles, sold at a penny "a lot"] "and in the summer I do a little in engravings, when I'm not minding my husband's 'lots,' for he has sometimes a day, and oftener a night, with portering and packing for a tradesman, that's known him long. Well, sir, I think I sell most 'coloured.' 'Master Toms' wasn't bad last summer. 'Master Toms' was pictures of cats, sir—you must have seen them—and I had them different colours. If a child looks on with its father, very likely, it'll want 'pussy,' and if the child cries for it, it's almost a sure sale, and more, I think, indeed I'm sure, with men than with women. Women knows the value of money better than men, for men never understand what housekeeping is. I have no children, thank God, or they might be pinched, poor things. 'Miss Kitties' was the same sale. Toms is hes, and Kitties is she cats. I've sometimes sold to poor women who was tiresome; they must have just what would fit over their mantel-pieces, that was papered with pictures." [My readers may remember that some of the descriptions I have given, long previous to the present inquiry, of the rooms of the poor, fully bear out this statement.] "I seldom venture on anything above 1d., I mean to sell at 1d. I've had Toms and Kitties at 2d. though. 'Fashions' isn't worth umbrella room; the poorest needlewoman won't be satisfied with them from an umbrella. 'Queens' and 'Alberts' and 'Wales's' and the other children isn't near so good as they was. There's so many 'fine portraits of Her Majesty,' or the others, given away with the first number of this or of that, that people's overstocked. If a working-man can buy a newspaper or a number, why of course he may as well have a picture with it. They gave away glasses of gin at the opening of that baker's shop there, and it's the same doctrine" [The word she used]. "I never offer penny theatres, or comic exhibitions, or anything big; they spoils the look of the umbrella, and makes better things look mean. I sell only to working people, I think; seldom to boys, and seldomer to girls; seldom to servant-maids and hardly ever to women of the town. I have taken 6d. from one of them though. I think boys buy pictures for picture books. I never had what I suppose was old pictures. To a few old people, I've known, 'Children' sell fairly, when they're made plump, and red cheeked, and curly haired. They sees a resemblance of their grandchildren, perhaps, and buys. Young married people does so too, but not so oft, I think. I don't remember that ever I have made more than 1s. 10d. on an evening. I don't sell, or very seldom indeed, at other times, and only in summer, and when its fine. If I clear 5s. I counts that a good week. It's a great help to the lot-selling. I seldom clear so much. Oftener 4s.

The principal sale of these "pictures," in the streets, is from umbrellas. Occasionally, a street-stationer, or even a miscellaneous lotseller, when he has met with a cheap lot, especially of portraits of ladies, will display a collection of prints, pyramidally arranged on his stall,—but these are exceptions. Sometimes, too, an "umbrella print-seller" will have a few "pictures in frames," on a sort of stand alongside the umbrella.

The pictures for the umbrellas are bought at the warehouse, or the swag-shops, of which I have before spoken. At these establishments "prints" are commonly supplied from to the dozen. The street-sellers buy at and the dozen, to sell at a a piece; and


at to sell at of the pictures thus sold are prepared expressly for the streets.

In so desultory and—as intelligent streetseller with whom I conversed on the subject described it—so a trade, it is difficult to arrive at exact statistics. From the best data at my command, it may be computed, that for weeks of the year, there are umbrella print-sellers (all exceptional traders therein included) each clearing weekly, and taking Thus it appears that is yearly expended in the streets in this purchase. Many of the sellers are old or infirm; who was among the most prosperous before the changes in the streets of , was dwarfish, and was delighted to be thought "a character."

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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