London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Car- Peting, Flannels, Stocking-Legs, &c., &c.


I CLASS these -hand wares together, as they are all of woollen materials.

has a fair sale, and in the streets is vended not as an entire floor or stair-carpet, but in pieces. The floor-carpet pieces are from to each; the stair-carpet pieces are from to a yard. Hearth-rugs are very rarely offered to street-customers, but when offered are sold from to Drugget is also sold in the same way as the floor-carpeting, and sometimes for housescouring cloths.

I've sold carpet, sir," said a woman streetseller, who called all descriptions—rugs and drugget too—by that title; "and I would like to sell it regular, but my old man—he buys everything—says it can't be had regular. I've sold many things in the streets, but I'd rather sell good second-hand in carpet or curtains, or fur in winter, than anything else. They're nicer people as buys them. It would be a good business if it was regular. Ah! indeed, in my time, and before I was married, I have sold different things in a different way; but I'd rather not talk about that, and I make no complaints, for seeing what I see. I'm not so badly off. Them as buys carpet are very particular—I've known them take a tape out of their pockets and measure—but they're honourable customers. If they're satisfied they buy, most of them does, at once; without any of your 'is that the lowest?' as ladies asks in shops, and that when they don't think of buying, either. Carpet is bought by working people, and they use it for hearth-rugs, and for bed-sides, and such like. I know it by what I've heard them say when I've been selling. One Monday evening, five or six years back, I took 10s. 9d. in carpet; there had been some great sales at old houses, and a good quantity of carpet and curtains was sold in the streets. Perhaps I cleared 3s. 6d. on that 10s. 9d. But to take 4s. or 5s. is good work now, and often not more than 3d. in the 1s. profit. Still, it's a pretty good business, when you can get a stock of second-hands of different kinds to keep you going constantly.

What in the street-trade is known as "," is for the most part -hand blankets, which having been worn as bed furniture, and then very probably, or at the same time, used for ironing cloths, are found in the street-markets, where


they are purchased for flannel petticoats for the children of the poor, or when not good enough for such use, for house cloths, at each.

The trade in is considerable. In these legs the feet have been cut off, further darning being impossible, and the fragment of the stocking which is worth preserving is sold to the careful housewives who attach to it a new foot. Sometimes for winter wear a new cheap sock is attached to the footless hose. These legs sell from to the pair, but very rarely , and only when of the best quality, though the legs would not be saleable in the streets at all, had they not been of a good manufacture originally. Men's hose are sold in this way more largely than women's.

The trade in -hand stockings is very considerable, but they form a part of the -hand apparel of street-commerce, and I shall notice them under that head.

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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