London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curtains.


-HAND Curtains, but only good ones, I was assured, can now be sold in the streets. "because common new ones can be had so cheap." The "good -hands," however, sell readily. The most saleable of all -hand curtains are those of chintz, especially old-fashioned chintz, now a scarce article; the next in demand are what were described to me as "good check," or the blue and white cotton curtains. White dimity curtains, though now rarely seen in a streetmarket, are not bought to be re-used as curtains —"there's too much washing about them for London"—but for petticoats, the covering of large pincushions, dressing-table covers, &c., and for the last-mentioned purpose they are bought by the householders of a small tenement who let a "wellfurnished" bed-room or .

The uses to which the -hand chintz or check curtains are put, are often for "Waterloo" or "tent" beds. It is common for a single woman, struggling to "get a decent roof over her head," or for a young couple wishing to improve their comforts in furniture, to do so piece-meal. An old bedstead of a better sort may be purchased, and so on to the concluding "decency," or, in the estimation of some poor persons, "dignity" of curtains. These persons are customers of the street-sellers—the -hand curtains costing them from to

Moreen curtains have also a good sale. They are bought by working people (and by some of the dealers in -hand furniture) for the recover- ing of sofas, which had become ragged, the deficiency of stuffing being supplied with hay (which is likewise the "stuffing" of the new sofas sold by the "linen-drapers," or "slaughter-houses." Moreen curtains, too, are sometimes cut into pieces, for the re-covering of old horse-hair chairs, for which purpose they are sold at each piece.

-hand curtains are moreover cut into portions and sold for the hanging of the testers of bedsteads, but almost entirely for what the streetsellers call "half-teesters." These are required for the Waterloo bedsteads, "and if it's a nice thing, sir," said woman, "and perticler if it's a chintz, and to be had for , the women'll fight for it."

The -hand curtains, when sold entire, are from to man had lately sold a pair of "good moreens, only faded, but dyeing's cheap," for

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 Title Page
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions and Natural Curiosities
Of the Street-Buyers
Of the Street-Jews
Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
Of the Streets of London
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Sweepers of Old, and the Climbing Boys
Of the Chimney-Sweepers of the Present Day
Of the General Characteristics of the Working Chimney-Sweepers
Sweeping of the Chimneys of Steam-Vessels
Of the 'Ramoneur' Company
Of the Brisk and Slack Seasons, and the Casual Trade among the Chimney- Sweepers
Of the 'Leeks' Among the Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Inferior Chimney-Sweepers -- the 'Knullers' and 'Queriers'
Of the Fires of London
Of the Sewermen and Nightmen of London
Of the Wet House-Refuse of London
Of the Means of Removing the Wet House-Refuse
Of the Quantity of Metropolitan Sewage
Of Ancient Sewers
Of the Kinds and Characteristics of Sewers
Of the Subterranean Character of the Sewers
Of the House-Drainage of the Metropolis as Connected With the Sewers
Of the London Street-Drains
Of the Length of the London Sewers and Drains
Of the Cost of Constructing the Sewers and Drains of the Metropolis
Of the Uses of Sewers as a Means of Subsoil Drainage
Of the City Sewerage
Of the Outlets, Ramifications, Etc., of the Sewers
Of the Qualities, Etc., of the Sewage
Of the New Plan of Sewerage
Of the Management of the Sewers and the Late Commissions
Of the Powers and Authority of the Present Commissions of Sewers
Of the Sewers Rate
Of the Cleansing of the Sewers -- Ventilation
Of 'Flushing' and 'Plonging,' and Other Modes of Washing the Sewers
Of the Working Flushermen
Of the Rats in the Sewers
Of the Cesspoolage and Nightmen of the Metropolis
Of the Cesspool System of London
Of the Cesspool and Sewer System of Paris
Of the Emptying of the London Cesspools by Pump and Hose
Statement of a Cesspool-Sewerman
Of the Present Disposal of the Night-Soil
Of the Working Nightmen and the Mode of Work