London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


An Epitome of the Pattering Class.


I wish, before passing to the next subject—the street-sellers of manufactured articles (of of whom the engraving here given furnishes a well-known specimen)—I wish, I say, as I find some mistakes have occurred on the subject, to give the public a general view of the patterers, as well as to offer some few observations concerning the means of improving the habits of street-people in general.

The patterers consist of distinct classes; viz., those who sell something, and patter to help off their goods; those who exhibit something, and patter to help off the show; and those who do nothing but patter, with a view to elicit alms. Under the head of "Patterers who sell" may be classed

 Paper Workers, Dealers in Razor Paste, 
 Quack Doctors, " French Polish, 
 Cheap Jacks, " Plating Balls, 
 Grease Removers, " CandleShades, 
 Wager Patterers, " Rat Poisons, & 
 Ring Sellers, " Blacking, 
 Dealers in Corn Salve, Book Auctioneers. 

The class of patterers includes jugglers, showmen, clowns, and fortune-tellers; beside several exhibitors who invite public notice to the wonders of the telescope or microscope.

The and last class of patterers are those who neither sell nor amuse, but only victimise those who get into their clutches. These (to use their own words) "do it on the bounce." Their general resort is an inferior public-house, sometimes a brothel, or a coffeeshop. of the tricks of these worthies is to group together at a window, and if a well-dressed person pass by, to salute him with the contents of a flour-bag. of their pals—better dressed than the rest—immediately walks out, declares it was purely accidental, and invites the gentleman in "to be brushed." Probably he consents, and still more probably, if he be "good-natured," he is plied with liquor, drugged with snuff for the occasion, and left in some obscure court, utterly stupified. When he awakes, he finds that his watch, purse, &c., are gone.

A casual observer, or even a stranger, may be induced to contract a wayside acquaintance with the parties to whom I allude," says one of the pattering class, from whom I have received much valuable information; "and if he be a visitor of fairs and races, that acquaintance, though slight, may sometimes prove expensive. But casual observers cannot, from the complexity and varied circumstances of the characters now under notice, form anything like a correct view of them. I am convinced that no one can, but those who have visited their haunts and indeed lived among them for months together. They are not to be known, any more than the great city was to be built, in a day. This advantage—if so it may be called—has fallen to my lot.

The classes of patterers above enumerated must not be confounded. The are essentially distinct from the last—at least they do for their living; and though the pattering street-tradesmen may generally overstep the bounds of truth in their glowing descriptions of the virtues of the goods they sell, still it should be remembered they are no more dishonest in their dealings than the "enterprising" class of shopkeepers, who resort to the mode of puffing off their wares,— indeed the street-sellers are far less reprehensible than their more wealthy brother puffers of the shops, who cannot plead want as an excuse for their dishonesty. The recent revelations made by the , as to the adulteration of the articles of diet sold by the London grocers, show that the patterers who sell, practise far less imposition than some of our "merchant princes."

"A tradesman in Tottenham-court Road, whose address the advertises gratis, thus proclaims the superior qualities of his ' WHITE PEPPER. package of this article, which is the interior part of the kernel of the finest pepper, being equal in strength to nearly times the quantity of black pepper (which is the inferior, small, shrivelled berries, and often little more than husks), it will be not only the best but the cheapest for every purpose.' This super-excellent pepper, 'sold in packages, price ,' was found on analysis to consist of finely-ground "

Indeed the has demonstrated that as regards tea, coffee, arrow-root, sugar, and pepper sold by "pattering" shopkeepers, the rule invariably is that those are articles which are the most puffed, and "warranted free from adulteration," and "to which the attention of families and is particularly directed as being of the finest quality ever imported into this country," are uniformly the most scandalously adulterated of all.

We should, therefore, remember while venting our indignation against pattering streetsellers, that they are not the only puffers in the world, and that they, at least, can plead poverty in extenuation of their offence; whereas, it must be confessed, that shopkeepers can have no other cause for their acts but their own brutalizing greed of gain.

The class of patterers with whom we have here to deal are those who patter to help off their goods—but while describing them it has been deemed advisable to say a few words, also, on the class who , as a means of exciting commiseration to their assumed calamities. These parties, it should be distinctly understood, are in no way connected with the puffing street-sellers, but in the exaggerated character of the orations they deliver, they are mostly professional beggars—or bouncers (that is to say cheats of the lowest ), and not work or do anything for their living. This, at least, cannot be urged against the pattering street-sellers who, as was before stated, do for the bread they eat.

Further to show the extent, and system, of the lodging and routes throughout the country of the class of "lurkers," &c., here described— as all resorting to those places—I got a patterer to write me out a list, from his own knowledge, of divers routes, and the extent of accommodation in the lodging-houses. I give it according to the patterer's own classification.

Brighton is a town where there is a great many furnished cribs, let to needys (nightly lodgers) that are molled up," [that is to say, associated with women in the sleeping-rooms.] SURREY AND SUSSEX. Dossing Cribs, or Lodginghouses Beds. Needys, or Nightly Lodgers. Wandsworth . . . . 6 9 108 Croydon . . . . . . 9 8 144 Reigate . . . . . . 5 6 60 Cuckfield. . . . . . 2 8 32 Horsham . . . . . . 3 7 52 Lewis . . . . . . . 7 6 84 Kingston . . . . . 12 8 192 Brighton . . . . . . 16 9 228

Bristol.—A few years back an old woman kept a padding-ken here. She was a strong Methodist, but had a queer method. There was thirty standing beds, besides make-shifts and furnished rooms, which were called 'cottages.' It's not so bad now. The place was well-known to the monkry, and you was reckoned flat if you hadn't been there. The old woman, when any female, old or young, who had no tin, came into the kitchen, made up a match for her with some men. Fellows half-drunk had the old women. There was always a broomstick at hand, and they was both made to jump over it, and that was called a broomstick wedding. Without that ceremony a couple weren't looked on as man and wife. In course the man paid, in such case, for the dos (bed.) Kensington . . . . . 6 7 84 Brentford . . . . . 12 8 192 Hounslow . . . . . 6 5 60 Colebrook . . . . . 2 7 20 Windsor . . . . . . 7 10 140 Maidenhead . . . . 4 5 40 Reading . . . . . . 12 9 216 Oxford . . . . . . 14 7 196 Banbury . . . . . . 10 12 240 Marlboro' . . . . . 8 7 112 Bath . . . . . . . 10 8 160 Bristol . . . . . . 20 11 440

Counties of Kent and Essex.—Here is the best places in England for 'skipper-birds;' (parties that never go to lodging-houses, but to barns or outhouses, sometimes without a blanket.) The Kent farmers permit it to their own travellers, or the travellers they know. In Essex it's different. There a farmer will give 1s. rather than let a traveller sleep on his premises, for fear of robbery. 'Keyhole whistlers,' the skipperbirds are sometimes called, but they're regular travellers. Kent's the first county in England for them. They start early to good houses for victuals, when gentlefolk are not up. I've seen them doze and sleep against the door. They like to be there before any one cuts their cart (exposes their tricks). Travellers are all early risers. It's good morning in the country when it's good night in town. KENT. Dossing Cribs, or Lodginghouses Beds. Needys, or Nightly Lodgers. Deptford . . . . . . 18 9 324 Greenwich . . . . . 6 8 26 Woolwich . . . . . 9 8 144 Gravesend . . . . . 6 7 84 Chatham . . . . . 20 10 400 Maidstone . . . . . 5 7 70 Sittingbourne . . . . 3 6 36 Sheerness . . . . . 4 5 40 Faversham . . . . . 3 5 30 Canterbury . . . . . 11 8 176 Dover . . . . . . . 12 9 216 Ramsgate . . . . . 4 5 40 Margate . . . . . . 6 6 72 ESSEX. Stratford . . . . . . 10 9 180 Ilford . . . . . . . 3 7 52 Barking . . . . . . 4 6 48 Billericay . . . . . 5 7 70 Orsett . . . . . . . 2 8 32 Rayleigh . . . . . . 3 9 54 Rochford . . . . . 3 8 48 Leigh . . . . . . . 4 8 64 Prettywell . . . . . 2 7 28 Southend . . . . . 3 8 48 Maldon . . . . . . 5 9 90 Witham . . . . . . 4 8 64 Colchester . . . . . 15 10 300

Windsor.—At Ascot race-time I've paid many 1s. just to sit up all night.

Colchester.—Life in London at the Bugle; called 'Hell upon earth' sometimes. Barnet . . . . . . 5 1 80 Watford . . . . . . 6 8 90 Hemel-Hempstead . . 3 5 30 Uxbridge . . . . . 6 7 84 Tring . . . . . . . 2 6 24 Dunstable . . . . . 6 5 60 Stony-Stratford . . . 3 6 36 Northampton . . . . 13 9 234 Towcester . . . . . 4 7 56 Daventry . . . . . 5 9 90 Coventry . . . . . . 16 9 288 Birmingham . . . . 50 11 1100 HERTS AND BEDFORDSHIRE. Edmonton . . . . . 14 7 196 Waltham-Abbey . . . 3 6 36 Cheshunt-Street . . . 2 7 28 Hoddesden . . . . . 3 8 48 Hertford . . . . . . 9 9 162 Ware . . . . . . . 7 10 140 Puckeridge . . . . . 2 5 20 Burtingford . . . . 3 8 48 Royston . . . . . . 4 10 40 Hitchin . . . . . . 7 9 126 Luton . . . . . . . 6 8 96 Bedford . . . . . . 9 7 126 St. Alban's . . . . . 8 6 96 SUFFOLK AND NORFOLK. Ipswich . . . . . . 24 8 384 Hadleigh . . . . . . 8 7 112 Halsted . . . . . . 5 6 60 Stowmarket . . . . . 4 7 56 Woodbridge . . . . . 6 5 60 Sudbury . . . . . . 4 7 56 Dossing Cribs, or Lodginghouses Beds. Needys, or Nightly Lodgers. Bury St. Edmund's . . 8 8 128 Thetford . . . . . . 3 6 36 Attleboro' . . . . . 2 5 20 Wymondham . . . . 1 11 22 Norwich . . . . . . 40 9 720 Yarmouth . . . . . 16 8 256

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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