London Labour and the London Poor, Volume 1

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Street-Sellers of Whips, Etc.


THESE traders are a distinct class from the stick-sellers, and have a distinct class of customers. The sale is considerable; for to many the possession of a whip is a matter of importance. If be lost or stolen, for instance, from a butcher's cart at Newgate-market, the need of a whip to proceed with the cart and horse to its destination, prompts the purchase in the quickest manner, and this is usually effected of the street-seller who offers his wares to the carters at every established resort.

The commonest of the whips sold to cart-drivers is sometimes represented as whalebone covered with gut; but the whalebone is a stick, and the flexible part is a piece of leather, while the gut is a sort of canvas, made to resemble the worked gut of the better sort of whips, and is pasted to the stock; the thong—which in the common sort is called "-strands," or plaits—being attached to the flexible part. Some of these whips are old stocks recovered, and many are sad rubbish; but for any deceit the street-seller can hardly be considered responsible, as he always purchases at the shop of a wholesale whipmaker, who is in some cases a retailer at the same price and under the same representations as the street-seller. The retail price is each; the wholesale, and a dozen. Some of the street whip-sellers represent themselves as the makers, but the whips are almost all made in Birmingham and Walsall.

Of these traders very few are the ordinary street-sellers. Most of them have been in some


way or other connected with the care of horses, and some were described to me as "beaten-out countrymen," who had come up to town in the hope of obtaining employment, and had failed. man, of the last-mentioned class, told me that he had come to London from a village in Cambridgeshire, bringing with him testimonials of good character, and some letters from parties whose recommendation he expected would be serviceable to him; but he had in vain endeavoured for some months to obtain work with a carrier, omnibus proprietor, or job-master, either as driver or in charge of horses. His prospects thus failing him, he was now selling whips to earn his livelihood. A friend advised him to do this, as better than starving, and as being a trade that he understood:—

I often thought I'd be forced to go back home, sir," he said, "and I'd have been ashamed to do't, for I would come to try my luck in London, and would leave a place I had. All my friends—and they're not badly off—tried to 'suade me to stop at home another year or two, but come I would, as if I must and couldn't help it. I brought good clothes with me, and they're a'most all gone; and I'd be ashamed to go back so shabby, like the prodigal's son; you know, sir. I'll have another try yet, for I get on to a cab next Monday, with a very respectable cab-master. As I've only myself, I know I can do. I was on one, but not with the same master, after I'd been six weeks here; but in two days I was forced to give it up, for I didn't know my way enough, and I didn't know the distances, and couldn't make the money I paid for my cab. If I asked another cabman, he was as likely to tell me wrong as right. Then the fares used to be shouting out, 'I say, cabby, where the h——are you going? I told you Mark-lane, and here we are at the Minories. Drive back, sir.' I know my way now well enough, sir. I've walked the streets too long not to know it. I notice them on purpose now, and know the distances. I've written home for a few things for my new trade, and I'm sure to get them. They don't know I'm selling whips. There would be such a laugh against me among all t'young fellows if they did. Me as was so sure to do well in London!

It's a poor trade. A carman 'll bid me 6d. for such a whip as this, which is 4s. 3d. the half dozen wholesale. 'I have to find my own whips,' my last customer said, 'though I drives for a stunning grocer, and be d——d to him.' They're great swearers some of them. I make 7s. or 8s. in a week, for I can walk all day without tiring. I one week cleared 14s. Next week I made 3s. I have slept in cheap lodging-houses—but only in three: one was very decent, though out of the way; one was middling; and the t'other was a pig-sty. I've seen very poor places in the country, but nothing to it. I now pay 2s. a week for a sort of closet, with a bed in it, at the top of a house, but it's clean and sweet; and my landlord's a greengrocer and coal-merchant and firewood-seller;—he's a good man—and I can always earn a little against the rent with him, by cleaning his harness, and grooming his pony—he calls it a pony, but it's over 15 hands—and greasing his cart-wheels, and mucking out his stable, and such like. I shall live there when I'm on my cab.

Other carmen's whips are , and as high as , but the great sale is of those at The principal localities for the trade are at the meat-markets, the "green markets," , the streets leading to when crowded in the morning, the neighbourhood of the docks and wharfs, and the thoroughfares generally.

The trade in the other kind of whips is again in the hands of another class, in that of cabmen who have lost their licence, who have been maimed, and the numerous "hands" who job about stables—especially cab-horse stables—when without other employment. The price of the inferior sort of "gig-whips" is to , the wholesale price being from to the dozen. Some are lower than , but the cabmen, I am told, "will hardly look at them; they know what they're a-buying of, and is wide awake, and that's reason why the profit's so small." Occasionally, whip-seller told me, he had sold gig-whips at or to gentlemen who had broken their "valuable lance-wood," or "beautiful thorn," and who made a temporary purchase until they could buy at their accustomed shops. "A military gent, with mustachers, once called to me in ," the same man stated, "and he said, 'Here, give me the best you can for half-a-crown, I've snapped my own. I never use the whip when I drive, for my horse is skittish and won't stand it, but I can't drive without .'"

In the height of the season, , and sometimes men, sell handsome gig-whips at the fashionable drives or the approaches. "I have taken as much as in a day, for whips," said man, "each ; but they were silvermounted thorn, and very cheap indeed; that's or years back; people looks oftener at now. I've sold horse-dealers' whips too, with loaded ends. Oh, all prices. I've bought them, wholesale, at a dozen, and a piece. Hunting whips are never sold in the streets now. I have sold them, but it's a good while ago, as riding whips for park gentlemen. The stocks were of fine strong lancewood—such a close grain! with buck horn handles, and a close-worked thong, fastened to the stock by an 'eye' (loop), which it's slipped through. You could hear its crack half a mile off. 'Threshing machines,' I called them."

All the whip-sellers in a large way visit the races, fairs, and large markets within miles of London. Some go as far as Goodwood at the race-time, which is between and miles distant. On a well-thronged race-ground these men will take or in a day, and from a half to -fourths as much at a country fair. They sell riding-whips in the country, but seldom in town.

An experienced man knew whip-sellers, as nearly as he could call them to mind, by sight, and by name. He was certain that on no day


were there fewer than in the streets, and sometimes—though rarely—there were . The most prosperous of the body, including their profits at races, &c., make a week the year through; the poorer sort from to , and the latter are times as numerous as the others. Averaging that only whip-sellers take each weekly (with profits of from to ) in London alone, we find expended in the streets in whips.

Some of the whip-sellers vend whipcord, also, to those cabmen and carters who "cord" their own whips. The whipcord is bought wholesale at the pound (sometimes lower), and sold at the knot, there being generally dozen knots in a pound.

Another class "mend" cabmen's whips, rethonging, or "new-springing" them, but these are street-artisans.

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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