As the volume is now fast drawing to a close, and a specific account has been furnished of almost every description of street- (with the exception of those who are the of the articles they vend), I purpose giving a more full and general history and classification than I have yet done of the feminine portion of the traders in the streets.
The women engaged in street-sale are of all ages and of nearly all classes. They are, however, chiefly of countries, England and Ireland. There are (comparatively) a few Jewesses, and a very few Scotchwomen and Welchwomen who are street-traders; and they are so, as it were, accidentally, from their connection, by marriage or otherwise, with male street-sellers. Of foreigners there are German broom-women, and a few Italians with musical instruments.
The broad and distinctive view of the female street-sellers, is regarding them , that is to say, either English or Irish women— classes separated by definite characteristics from each other.
The Irishwomen—to avoid burthening the reader with an excess of subdivisions—I shall speak of generally; that is to say, as homogeneous class, referring those who require a more specific account to the description before given of the street-sellers.
The Englishwomen selling in the streets appear to admit of being arranged into distinct groups, viz.:—
. The Wives of Street-Sellers.
. Mechanics' or Labourers' Wives, who go out Street-Selling (while their husbands are at work) as a means of helping out the family income.
. Widows of former Street-Sellers.
. Single Women.
I do not know of any street-trade carried on by women. The sales in which they are principally concerned are in fish (including shrimps and oysters), fruit and vegetables (widows selling on their own account), fire-screens and ornaments, laces, millinery, artificial flowers (but not in any great majority over the male traders), cut flowers, boot and stay-laces and small wares, wash-leathers, towels, burnt linen, combs, bonnets, pin-cushions, tea and coffee, rice-milk, curds and whey, sheeps'--trotters, and dressed and undressed dolls.
What may be called the "heavier" trades, those necessitating the carrying of heavy weights, or the pushing of heavily-laden barrows, are in the hands of men; and so are, even more exclusively, what may be classed as the more skilled trades of the streets, viz. the sale of stationery, of books, of the most popular eatables and
|drinkables (the coffee-stalls excepted), and in every branch dependent upon the use of patter. In such callings as root-selling, crock-bartering, table-cover selling, mats, game, and poultry, the wife is the helpmate of her husband; if she trade separately in these things, it is because there is a full stock to dispose of, which requires the exertions of persons, perhaps with some hired help just for the occasion.|
The difference in the street-traffic, as carried on by Englishwomen and Irishwomen, is marked enough. The Irishwoman's avocations are the least skilled, and the least remunerative, but as regards mere toil, such as the carrying of a heavy burthen, are by far the most laborious. An Irishwoman, though not reared to the streets, will carry heavy baskets of oranges or apples, principally when those fruits are cheap, along the streets while her English co-trader (if not a costermonger) may be vending laces, millinery, artificial flowers, or other commodities of a "light," and in some degree of street estimation a "genteel" trade. Some of the less laborious callings, however, such as that in wash-leathers, are principally in the hands of young and middle-aged Irishwomen, while that in sheeps'--trotters, which does not entail heavy labour, are in the hands mostly of elderly Irishwomen. The sale of such things as lucifer-matches and watercresses, and any "stock" of general use, and attainable for a few pence, is resorted to by the very poor of every class. The Irishwoman more readily unites begging with selling than the Englishwoman, and is far more fluent and even eloquent; perhaps she pays less regard to truth, but she unquestionably pays a greater regard to chastity. When the uneducated Irishwoman, however, has fallen into licentious ways, she is, as I once heard it expressed, the most "savagely wicked" of any.
After these broad distinctions I proceed to details.
. From the best information at my command it may be affirmed that about -half of the women employed in the diverse trades of the streets, are the wives or concubines (permanently or temporarily) of the men who pursue a similar mode of livelihood—the male street-sellers. I may here observe that I was informed by an experienced police-officer—who judged from his personal observation, without any official or even systematic investigation—that the women of the town, who survived their youth or their middle age, did not resort to the sale of any commodity in the streets, but sought the shelter of the workhouse, or died, he could not tell where or under what circumstances. Of the verity of this statement I have no doubt, as a street-sale entails some degree of industry or of exertion, for which the life of those wretched women may have altogether unfitted them.
In the course of the narratives and statements I have given, it is shown that some wives pursue (itinerant or stationary) calling, while the husband pursues another. The trades in which the husband and wife (and I may here remark that when I speak of "wives," I include all, so regarded in street life, whether legally united or not)—the trades in which the woman is, more than in any others, literally the help-mate of the man, are the costermonger's (including the flower, or root, sellers) and the crockeryware people. To the costermonger some help is often indispensable, and that of a wife is the cheapest and the most honest (to say nothing of the considerations connected with a home) which can be obtained. Among the more prosperous costermongers too, especially those who deal in fish, the wife attends to the stall while the husband goes "a round," and thus a greater extent of business is transacted. In the root and crockerytrades the woman's assistance is necessary when barter takes place instead of sale, as the husband may be ignorant of the value of the old female attire which even "high-hip ladies," as they were described to me, loved to exchange for a fuchsia or a geranium; for a glass cream-jug or a china ornament. Of the married women engaged in any street-trade, I believe -twentieths are the wives of men also pursuing some street avocation.
. There are, however, large classes of female street-sellers who may be looked upon as exceptions, the wife selling in the streets while the husband is engaged in some manual labour, but they are only partially exceptions. In the sale of washleathers, for instance, are the wives of many Irish bricklayers' labourers; the woman may be constantly occupied in disposing of her wares in the streets or suburbs, and the man labouring at any building; but in case of the deprivation of work, such a man will at once become a street-seller, and in the winter many burly Irish labourers sell a few nuts or "baked taties," or a few pairs of braces, or some article which seems little suitable for the employment of men of thews and muscle. In the course of my present inquiry I have, in only very rare instances, met with a poor Irishman, who had not a reason always at his tongue's end to justify anything he was doing. Ask a bricklayer's labourer why, in his youth and strength, he is selling nuts, and he will at once reply: "Sure thin, your honnur, isn't it better than doin' nothing? I must thry and make a pinny, 'til I'm in worruk again, and glory be to God, I hope that'll be soon."
An experienced man, who knows all the streetfolk trading in Whitechapel and its neighbourhood, and about Spitalfields, told me that he could count up married women, in different branches of open-air commerce, and of them only had husbands who worked regularly in-doors. The husband of woman works for a slop-tailor, the other is a bobbin turner; the tailor's wife sells water-cresses every morning and afternoon; the turner's wife is a "small-ware woman." The tailor, however, told my informant that his eyesight was failing him, that his earnings became less and less, that he was treated like dirt, and would go into some street-trade himself before long. When the man and his wife are both in the street-trade, it is the case in instances out of (excluding of course the costermongers, root-sellers, and crock-man's pursuits) that the couple carry on different callings.
In the full and specific accounts I gave of the largest body of street-sellers, viz., the costermongers, I showed that concubinage among persons of all ages was the rule, and marriage the exception. It was computed that, taking the mass of costermongers, only couple in , living together, were married, except in Clerkenwell, where the costers are very numerous, and where the respected incumbent at certain seasons marries poor persons gratuitously; there couple in were really man and wife.
Of the other classes of women street-sellers, directly the reverse is the case; of those living as man and wife, couple in may be An intelligent informant thought this average too high, and that it was more probably in . But I incline to the opinion of in , considering how many of the street-traders have "seen better days," and were married before they apprehended being driven to a street career. In this enumeration I include only street- Among such people as ballad singers, concubinage, though its wrongfulness is far better understood than among ignorant costermongers, is practised even more fully; and there is often among such classes even worse than concubinage—a dependance, more or less, on the wages of a woman's prostitution, and often a savage punishment to the wretched woman, if those wages of sin are scant or wanting.
. The widows in the street-trades are very generally the widows of street-sellers. I believe that very few of the widows of mechanics, when left unprovided for on their husbands' demise, resort to street traffic. If they have been needlewomen before marriage, they again seek for employment at needle-work; if they have been servants, they become charwomen, or washerwomen, or again endeavour to obtain a livelihood in domestic service.
There are some to whom those resources are but starvation, or a step from starvation, or whom they fail entirely, and then they " try the streets," as they will describe it. If they are young and reckless, they become prostitutes; if in more advanced years, or with good principles, they turn street-sellers; but this is only when destitution presses sharply.
. The single women in the street-callings are generally the daughters of street-sellers, but their number is not a of the others, excepting they are the daughters of Irish parents. The costermongers' daughters either help their parents, with whom they reside, or carry on some similar trade; or they soon form connections with the other sex, and easily sever the parental tie, which very probably has been far too lax or far too severe. I made many inquiries, but I did not hear of any unmarried young woman, not connected with street-folk by birth or rearing, such as a servant maid,—endeavouring to support herself when out of work or place by a street avocation. Such a person will starve on slop millinery or slop shirt-making; or will, as much or more from desperation than from viciousness, go upon the town. With the Irish girls the case is different: brought up to a street-life, used to whine and blarney, they grow up to womanhood in street-selling, and as they rarely form impure connections, and as no may be induced to offer them marriage, their life is often of street celibacy. A young Irishwoman, to whom I was referred in the course of my inquiry among fruit-sellers, had come to London in the hopes of meeting her brother, with whom she was to emigrate; but she could learn nothing of him, and, concluding that he was dead, became an apple-seller. She sat, when I saw her, on cold wintry days, at the corner of a street in the Commercial-road, seemingly as much dead as alive, and slept with an aunt, also a single woman, who was somewhat similarly circumstanced; and thus these women lived on about a day each. Their joint bed was a week, and they contrived to subsist on what remained when this shilling was paid. The niece referred me, not without a sense of pride, to her priest, as to her observance of her religious duties, and declared that where she lodged there were none but women lodgers, and those chiefly her own countrywomen. I believe such cases are not uncommon. A few, who have had the education of ladies (as in the case of an envelope-seller whose statement I gave), are driven to street-trading, but it is as a desperate grasp at something to supply less bitter bread, however little of it, than is supplied in the workhouse. I have many a time heard poor women say: "God knows, sir, I should live far better, and be better lodged and better cared for in the house (they seldom call it workhouse), but I'd rather live on a day." Into the question of out and in-door relief I need not now enter, but the prevalent feeling I have indicated is highly honourable to the English poor. I have heard it stated that the utter repugnance to a workhouse existence was weaker than it used to be among the poor, but I have not met with anything to uphold such an opinion.
Such constitute the several classes of women street-sellers. I shall now proceed to speak of the habits and characters of this peculiar portion of the street-folk.
of the women in streettrades, it is not difficult to describe it. The Irishwomen are Roman Catholics. Perhaps I am justified in stating that they are of that faith. The truth of this assertion is proved, moreover, to as full a demonstration as it very well can be proved without actual enumeration, by the fact that the great majority of the Irishwomen in the streets are from the Catholic provinces of Connaught, Leinster, and Munster; there are very few from Ulster, and not - of the whole from any of the other provinces. Perhaps, again, it is not extravagant to estimate that -fourths of the women and girls from the sister island, now selling things in the streets, have been, when in their own country, connected through their husbands or parents with the cultivation of the land. It is not so easy to speak of what the remaining were before they became immigrants. Some were the wives of mechanics, who, when their husbands
|failing to obtain work in London became streettraders, had adopted the same pursuits. I met with intelligent man having a stall of very excellent fruit in Battle-bridge, who had been a brogue-maker. He had been in business on his own account in Tralee, but mended the indifferent profits of brogue-making by a little trade in "dry goods." This, he told me with a cautious glance around him and in a half whisper, though it was years since he left his country, meant smuggled tobacco. He found it advisable, on account of being "wanted" by the revenue officers, to leave Tralee in great haste. He arrived in London, got employment as a bricklayer's labourer, and sent for his wife to join him. This she did, and from her arrival, sold fruit in the streets. In or years the husband's work among the builders grew slack, and he then took to the streets. Another man, a shoemaker, who came from Dublin to obtain work in London, as he was considered "a good hand," could not obtain it, but became a street-seller, and wife, previously to himself, had resorted to a street-trade in fruit. He became a widower and married as "his ," the daughter of an Irish carpenter who had been disappointed in emigrating from London, and whose whole family had become fruit-sellers. A man, who had worked at his trade of a tailor in Cork, Waterford, Wicklow, and Dublin (he "tramped" from Cork to Dublin) had come to London and been for many years a streetseller in different capacities. His wife and daughter now assist him, or trade independently, in selling "roots." "Rayther," this man said, "than put up wid the wages and the (said very emphatically) o' thim slop masters at the Aist Ind, I'd sill myself as a slave. The sthraits doesn't degrade a man like thim thieves o' the worruld." This man knew, personally, Irish mechanics who were street-sellers in London, as were their wives and families, including some -and- females.|
I adduce these and the following details somewhat minutely, as they tend to show by what class of Irish immigrants the streets of the imperial metropolis are stocked with so large a body of open-air traders.
There is also another class of women who, I am informed on good authority, sometimes become street-sellers, though I met with no instance myself. The orphan children of poor Irish parents are, on the demise of their father and mother sometimes taken into a workhouse and placed out as domestic servants. So, as regards domestic servants, are the daughters of Irish labourers, by their friends or the charitable. As the wages of these young girls are small and sometimes nominal, the work generally hard, and in no few instances the food scanty and the treatment severe, domestic service becomes distasteful, and a street life "on a few oranges and limmons" is preferred. There is, moreover, with some of this class another cause which almost compels the young Irish girl into the adoption of some street calling. A peevish mistress, whose numerous family renders a servant necessary, but whose means are small or precarious, becomes bitterly dissatisfied with the awkwardness or stupidity of her Irish handmaiden; the girl's going, or "teasing to go," every Sunday morning to mass is annoying, and the girl is often discharged, or discharges herself "in a huff." The mistress, perhaps, with the low tyranny dear to vulgar minds, refuses her servant a character, or, in giving , suppresses any good qualities, and exaggerates the failings of impudence, laziness, lying, and dirtiness. Thus the girl cannot obtain another situation, and perforce perhaps she becomes a street-seller.
The readiness with which young Irish people thus adapt themselves to all the uncertainties and hardships of a street life is less to be wondered at when we consider that the Irish live together, or at any rate associate with another, in this country, preserving their native tastes, habits, and modes of speech. Among their tastes and habits, a dislike to a street life does not exist as it does among English girls.
The poor Irish females in London are for the most part regular in their attendance at mass, and this constant association in their chapels is of the links which keeps the street-Irish women so much distinct from the street-English. In the going to and returning from the Roman Catholic chapels, there is among these people—I was told by of the most intelligent of them—a talk of family and secular matters,—of the present too high price of oranges to leave full a day at a penny, and the probable time when cherries would be "in" and cheap, "plaze God to prosper them." In these colloquies there is an absence of any interference by English street-sellers, and an unity of conversation and interest peculiarly Irish. It is thus that the tie of religion, working with the other causes, keeps the Irish in the London streets knitted to their own ways, and is likely to keep them so, and, perhaps, to add to their number.
It was necessary to write somewhat at length of so large a class of women who professors of a religion, but of the others the details may be brief; for, as to the great majority, religion is almost a nonentity. For this absence of religious observances, the women street-sellers make many, and sometimes, I must confess, valiant excuses. They must work on a Sunday morning, they will say, or they can't eat; or else they tell you, they are so tired by knocking about all the week that they must rest on a Sunday; or else they have no clothes to go to church in, and ar'n't a-going there just to be looked down upon and put in any queer place as if they had a fever, and for ladies to hold their grand dresses away from them as they walked in to their grand pews. Then, again, some assert they are not used to sit still for so long a time, and so fall asleep. I have heard all these causes assigned as reasons for not attending church or chapel.
A few women street-sellers, however, attend the Sunday service of the Church of England. lace-seller told me that she did so because it obliged Mrs. ——, who was the best friend and customer she had, and who always looked from
|her pew in the gallery to see who were on the poor seats. A few others, perhaps about an equal number, attend dissenting places of worship of the various denominations—the Methodist chapels comprising more than a half. If I may venture upon a calculation founded on the result of my inquiries, and on the information of others who felt an interest in the matter, I should say that about female street-sellers attended Protestant places of worship, in the ratio of a attending the Roman Catholic chapels.|
are those (generally) which I have often had occasion to specify as the abodes of the poor. They congregate principally, however, in the neighbourhood of some street-market. The many courts in , , Cow-cross, and other parts of Clerkenwell, are full of street-sellers, especially costermongers, some of those costermongers being also drovers. Their places of sale are in Clerkenwell-green, , and St. Johnstreet. Others reside in (late Muttonhill), , , Baldwin'sgar- dens, and the many streets or alleys stretching from to Gray's-inn-lane, with a few of the better sort in . Their chief mart is , now of the most crowded markets in London. The many who use the Brill as their place of street-traffic, reside in , in , Wilstead-street, , and in the many small intersecting lanes and alleys connected with those streets, and in other parts of Somers-town. The saleswomen in the Cripplegate street-markets, such as Whitecrossstreet, , , &c., reside in Play-house-yard, and in the thick congregation of courts and alleys, approximating to Aldersgatestreet, , , , , &c., &c. Advancing eastward, the female street-sellers in (including the divisions of the Bishopsgate-streets Within and Without, , and ) reside in and about , Half-moon-street, and the many narrow "clefts" (as they are called in of Leigh Hunt's essays) stretching on the right hand as you proceed along , from its junction with ; "clefts" which, on my several visits, have appeared to me as among the foulest places in London. On the left-hand side, proceeding in the same direction, the streetsellers reside in , and the many yards connected with that, perhaps narrowest, in proportion to its length, of any merely pedestrian thoroughfare in London. Mixed with the poor street-sellers about , I may observe, are a mass of the tailors and shoemakers employed by the east-end slop-masters; they are principally Irish workmen, carrying on their crafts many in room, to economise the rent, while some of their wives are street-sellers.
The street-sellers in Spitalfields and Bethnalgreen are so mixed up as to their abodes with the wretchedly underpaid cabinet-makers who supply the "slaughter-houses;" with slop-employed tailors and shoemakers (in the employ of a class, as respects shoemakers, known as "garret- masters" or middle-men, between the workman and the wholesale warehouse-man), bobbin-turners, needle-women, slop-milliners, &c., that I might tediously enumerate almost every of the many streets known, emphatically enough, as the "poor streets." These poor streets are very numerous, running eastward from to the Cambridge-road, and southward from the Bethnalgreen-road to Whitechapel and the Mile End-road. The female street-sellers in Whitechapel live in , , Osborne-street, George-yard, and in several of their interminglements with courts and narrow streets. The street-dealers are generally Jews, and live in the poorer Jewish quarters, in and its courts, and in the streets running on thence to . Rosemarylane has many street-sellers, but in the lane itself and its many yards and blind alleys they find their domiciles. Westward in the metropolis of the largest street-markets is in Tottenhamcourt- road; and in the courts between Fitzroy-market and Tottenham-court-road are the rooms of the women vending their street goods. Those occupying the Hampstead-road with their stalls— which is but a continuation of the Tottenhamcourt-road market—live in the same quarters. In what is generally called the St. George'smarket, meaning the stalls at the western extremity of , the women who own those stalls reside in and about , Tom's-court, and the wretched places—the very existence of which is perhaps unknown to their aristocratic neighbourhood—about ; some of them lamentably wretched places. It might be wearisome to carry on this enumeration further. It may suffice to observe, that in the populous parts of , , and , wherever there is a street-market, are small or old streets inhabited by the street-sellers, and at no great distance. From the Obelisk at the junction, or approximate junction, of the , Waterloo, Blackfriars, Borough, and London-roads, in pretty well every direction to the banks of the Thames, are a mass of private-looking streets—as far as the absence of shops constitutes the privacy of a street— old and half-ruinous, or modern and trim, in all of which perhaps may be found street-sellers, and in some of which are pickpockets, thieves, and prostitutes.
Of course it must be understood that these specified localities are the residence of the male, as well as the female street-sellers, both adults and children.
The proportion of female street-traders who reside in lodging-houses may be estimated at - of the entire number. This may appear a small proportion, but it must be remembered that the costermongering women do not reside in lodging-houses—so removing the largest class of street-folk from the calculation of the numbers thus accommodated—and that the Irish who pursue street callings with any regularity generally prefer living, if it be or families in a room, in a place of their own. The female
|street-folk sleeping in lodging-houses, and occasionally taking their meals there, are usually those who are itinerant; the women who have a settled trade, especially a "pitch," reside in preference in some "place of their own." Of the number in lodging-houses half may be regular inmates, some having a portion of a particular room to themselves; the others are casual sojourners, changing their night's shelter as convenience prompts.|
Of the female street-sellers residing in houses of ill-fame there are not many; perhaps not many more than . I was told by a gentleman whose connection with parochial matters enabled him to form an opinion, that about , and some similar streets near the Cornwall-road, and stretching away to the Blackfriars and Borough-roads—(the locality which of any in London is perhaps the most rank with prostitution and its attendant evils)—there might be of those wretched women and of all ages, from to upwards of ; and that among them he believed there were barely a score who occupied themselves with street-sale. Of women, and more especially of girl, street-sellers, such as flower-girls, those pursuing immoral courses are far more numerous than , but they do not often reside in houses notoriously of ill-fame, but in their own rooms (and too often with their parents) and in low lodging-houses. For women who are street-sellers, without the practice of prostitution, to reside in a house of ill-fame, would be a reckless waste of money; as I am told that in so wretched a street as White-horse-street, the rent of a front kitchen is a week; of a back kitchen, ; of a front parlour, ; and of a back parlour, ; all being meagrely furnished and very small. This is also accounted of the cheapest of all such streets. The rent of a street-seller's unfurnished room is generally or even a week; a furnished room is or
among the female streetsellers is very defective. Perhaps it may be said that among the English costers not female in can read, and not in can write. But they are fond of listening to any who reads the newspaper or any exciting story. Among the street-selling Irish, also, education is very defective. As regards the adults, who have been of woman's estate before they left Ireland, a knowledge of reading and writing may be as rare as among the English costerwomen; but with those who have come to this country sufficiently young, or have been born here, education is far more diffused than among the often more prosperous English street children. This is owing to the establishment of late years of many Roman Catholic schools, at charges suited to the poor, or sometimes free, and of the Irish parents having availed themselves (probably on the recommendation of the priest) of such opportunities for the tuition of their daughters, which the English costers have neglected to do with equal chances. Of the other classes whom I have specified as street-sellers, I believe I may say that the educa- tion of the females is about the average of that of "servants of all work" who have been brought up amidst struggles and poverty; they can read, but with little appreciation of what they read, and have therefore little taste for books, and often little leisure even if they have taste. As to writing, a woman told me that at time, when she was "in place," and kept weekly accounts, she had been complimented by her mistress on her neat hand, but that she and her husband (a man of indifferent character) had been street-sellers for or years, and during all that time she had only once had a pen in her hand; this was a few weeks back, in signing a petition—something about Sundays, she said—she wrote her name with great pain and difficulty, and feared that she had not even spelled it aright! I may here repeat that I found the uneducated always ready to attribute their want of success in life to their want of education; while the equally poor street-sellers, who were "scholars," are as apt to say, "It's been of no manner of use to me." In all these matters I can but speak generally. The male street-sellers who have seen better days have of course been better educated, but the most intelligent of the street class are the patterers, and of them the females form no portion.
I am describing is, as regards its poorest members, tea and bread or bread and grease; a meal composed of nothing else is their fare twice or thrice a day. Sometimes there is the addition of a herring—or a plaice, when plaice are a penny—but the consumption of cheap fish, with a few potatoes, is more common among the poor Irish than the poor English female streetsellers. "Indeed, sir," said an elderly woman, who sold cakes of blacking and small wares, "I could make a meal on fish and potatoes, cheaper than on tea and bread and butter, though I don't take milk with my tea—I've got to like it better without milk than with it—but if you're a long time on your legs in the streets and get to your bit of a home for a cup of tea, you want a bit of rest over it, and if you have to cook fish it's such a trouble. O, no, indeed, this time of year there's no 'casion to light a fire for your tea—and tea 'livens you far more nor a herring—because there's always some neighbour to give a poor woman a jug of boiling water." Married women, who may carry on a trade distinct from that of their husbands, live as well as their earnings and the means of the couple will permit: what they consider good living is a dinner daily off "good block ornaments" (small pieces of meat, discoloured and dirty, but not tainted, usually set for sale on the butcher's block), tripe, cow-heel, beef-sausages, or soup from a cheap cook-shop, "at a pint." To this there is the usual accompaniment of beer, which, in all populous neighbourhoods, is " a pot (quart) in your own jugs." From what I could learn, it seems to me that an inordinate or extravagant indulgence of the palate, under any circumstances, is far less common among the female than the male street-sellers.
During the summer and the fine months of the spring and autumn, there are, I am assured, - of the London street-sellers—male and female—
|"tramping" the country. At Maidstone Fair the other day, I was told by an intelligent itinerant dealer, there were women, all of whose faces he believed he had seen at time or other in London. The Irish, however, tramp very little into the country for purposes of trade, but they travel in great numbers from place to another for purposes of mendicancy; or, if they have a desire to emigrate, they will tramp from London to Liverpool, literally begging their way, no matter whether they have or have not any money. The female street-sellers are thus a fluctuating body.|
The beggars among the women who profess to be street-traders are chiefly Irishwomen, some of whom, though otherwise well-conducted, sober and chaste, beg shamelessly and with any mendacious representation. It is remarkable enough, too, that of the Irishwomen who will thus beg, many if employed in any agricultural work, or in the rougher household labours, such as scouring or washing, will work exceedingly hard. To any feeling of self-respect or self-dependence, however, they seem dead; their great merit is their chastity, their great shame their lying and mendicancy.
The female street-sellers are again a fluctuating body, as in the summer and autumn months. A large proportion go off to work in market-gardens, in the gathering of peas, beans, and the several fruits; in weeding, in hay-making, in the cornharvest (when they will endeavour to obtain leave to glean if they are unemployed more profitably), and afterwards in the hopping. The women, however, thus seeking change of employment, are the ruder street-sellers, those who merely buy oranges at to sell at , and who do not meddle with any calling mixed up with the necessity of skill in selection, or address in recommending. Of this half-vagrant class, many are not street-sellers usually, but are half prostitutes and half thieves, not unfrequently drinking all their earnings, while of the habitual female street-sellers, I do not think that drunkenness is now a very prevalent vice. Their earnings are small, and if they become habituated to an indulgence in drink, their means are soon dissipated; in which case they are unable to obtain stock-money, and they cease to be streetsellers.
If I may venture upon an estimation, I should say that the women engaged in street sale— wives, widows, and single persons—number from to , and that their average earnings run from to a week.
I shall now proceed to give the histories of individuals belonging to each of the above class of female street-sellers, with the view of illustrating what has been said respecting them generally.
|View all images in this book|
|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
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 Kinds and Quantity of Fruit and Vegetables Sold in the Streets
Of the Fruit and Vegetable Season of the Costermongers
Of Covent Garden Market
Of 'Green' Fruit Selling in the Streets
Of the Orange and Nut Market
Of Orange and Lemon Selling in the Streets
Of Nut Selling in the Streets
Of Roasted Chestnuts and Apples
Of 'Dry' Fruit Selling in the Streets
Of the Street-Sale of Vegetables
Of the 'Aristocratic' Vegetable-Sale
Of Onion Selling in the Streets
Of Pot-Herbs and Celery
Gross Value of the Fruit and Vegetables Sold annually in the London Streets
|Of the Stationary Street-Sellers of Fish, Fruit, and Vegetables|
|Of the Street-Irish|
Of the Street-Irish
Of the Causes Which Have Made the Irish Turn Costermongers
How the Street-Irish Displanted the Street-Jews in the Orange Trade
Of the Religion of the Street-Irish
Of the Education, Literature, Amusements, and Politics of the Street-Irish
The Homes of the Street-Irish
Irish Lodging-Houses For Immigrants
Of the Diet, Drink, and Expense of Living of the Street-Irish
Of the Resources of the Street-Irish as Regards 'Stock-Money,' Sickness, Burials, &c.
Of the History of Some Irish Street-Sellers
Of the Irish 'Refuse'--Sellers
|Of the Street-Sellers of Game, Poultry (Live and Dead), Rabbits, Butter, Cheese, and Eggs|
Of the Street-Sellers of Game, &c.
Of the Quantity of Game, Rabbits, and Poultry, Sold in the Streets
Of the Street-Purchasers of Game and Poultry
Of the Experience of a Game Hawker
Statement of Two Poultry Hawkers
Of the Street Sale of Live Poultry
Of Rabbit Selling in the Streets
Of the Street Sale of Butter, Cheese, and Eggs
|Of the Sellers of Trees, Shrubs, Flowers (Cut and In Pots), Roots, Seeds, and Branches|
Of the Sellers of Trees, &c.
Of the Quantity of Shrubs, 'Roots,' Flowers, Etc., Sold in the Streets, and of the Buyers
Of the Street Sale of Trees and Shrubs
The London Flower Girls
Of Two Orphan Flower Girls
Of the Life of a Flower Girl
Of the Street Sale of Lavender
Of the Street Sale of Flowers in Pots, Roots, Etc.
Of the Street Sale of Seeds
Of Christmasing-- Laurel, Ivy, Holly, and Mistletoe
Of the Sale of May, Palm, Etc
|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 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 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
'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|
Of the Children Street-Sellers of London
Of Children Sent Out as Street-Sellers by their Parents
Of a 'Neglected' Child, a Street-Seller
Of a Hired Coster Boy
Of an Orphan Boy, a Street-Seller
Of the Life of an Orphan Girl, a Street- Seller
Of Two Runaway Street-Boys
Of the Capital and Income of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles