I HAVE in a former page specified some of the goods which make up the sum of the -hand miscellaneous commerce of the streets of London.
I may premise that the trader of this class is a sort of street broker; and it is no more possible minutely to detail his especial traffic in the several articles of his stock, than it would be to give a specific account of each and several of the "sundries" to be found in the closets or corners of an oldfurni- ture broker's or marine-store seller's premises, in describing his general business.
The members of this trade (as will be shown in the subsequent statements) are also "miscellaneous" in their character. A few have known liberal educations, and have been established in liberal professions; others have been artisans or shopkeepers, but the mass are of the general class of street-sellers.
I will treat of the , giving a wide interpretation to the word "amusement."
The backgammon, chess, draught, and cribbageboards of the -hand trade have originally been of good quality—some indeed of a very superior manufacture; otherwise the "cheap Germans" (as I heard the low-priced foreign goods from the swag-shops called) would by their superior cheapness have rendered the business a nullity. The backgammon-boards are bought of brokers, when they are often in a worn, unhinged, and what may be called ragged condition. The street-seller "trims them up," but in this there is nothing of artisanship, although it requires some little taste and some dexterity of finger. A new hinge or , or old hinges re-screwed, and a little pasting of leather and sometimes the application of strips of bookbinder's gold, is all that is required. The backgammon-boards are sometimes offered in the streets by an itinerant; sometimes (and more frequently than otherwise in a deplorable state, the points of the table being hardly distinguishable) they are part of the furniture of a -hand stall. I have seen at an old book-stall, but most usually they are vended by being hawked to the better sort of public-houses, and there they are more frequently disposed of by raffle than by sale. It is not once in a times, I am informed, that secondhand "men" are sold with the board. Before the board has gone through its series of hands to the street-seller, the men have been lost or scattered. New men are sometimes sold or raffled with the backgammon-boards (as with the draught) at from to the set, the best being of box-wood.
Chess-boards and men—for without the men of
|course a draught, or the top of a backgammonboard suffices for chess—are a commodity now rarely at the disposal of the street-sellers; and, as these means of a leisurely and abstruse amusement are not of a ready sale, the secondhand dealers do not "look out" for them, but merely speculate in them when the article "falls in their way" and seems a palpable bargain. Occasionally, a -hand chess apparatus is still sold by the street-folk. man—upon whose veracity I have every reason to rely—told me that he once sold a beautiful set of ivory men and a handsome "leather board" (-hand) to a gentleman who accosted him as he saw him carry them along the street for sale, inviting him to step in doors, when the gentleman's residence was reached. The chess-men were then arranged and examined, and the seller asked for them, at once closing with the offer of ; "for I found, sir," he said, "I had a gentleman to do with, for he told me he thought they were really cheap at , and he would give me that." Another dealer in -hand articles, when I asked him if he had ever sold chess-boards and men, replied, "Only twice, sir, and then at and the set; they was poor. I've seen chess played, and I should say it's a rum game; but I know nothing about it. I once had a old gent for a customer, and he was as nice and quiet a old gent as could be, and I always called on him when I thought I had a curus old tea-caddy, or knife-box, or anything that way. He didn't buy once in calls, but he always gave me something for my trouble. He used to play at chess with another old gent, and if, after his servant had told him I'd come, I waited 'til I could wait no longer, and then knocked at his room door, he swore like a trooper.|
Draught-boards are sold at from to -hand. Cribbage-boards, also -hand, and sometimes with cards, are only sold, I am informed, when they are very bad, at from to , or very good, at from to street-seller told me that he once sold a "Chinee" cribbage-board for , which cost him "It was a most beautiful thing," he stated, "and was very high-worked, and was inlaid with ivory, and with green ivory too."
The Dice required for the playing of backgammon, or for any purpose, are bought of the waiters at the club-houses, generally at the dozen sets. They are retailed at about per cent. profit. Dice in this way are readily disposed of by the street-people, as they are looked upon as "true," and are only about a of the price they could be obtained for new ones in the duly-stamped covers. A few dice are sold at to the set, but they are old and battered.
There are but men who support themselves wholly by the street-sale and the hawking of the different boards, &c., I have described. There are , , or sometimes occasional participants in the trade. Of these held a commission in Her Majesty's service, but was ruined by gaming, and when unable to live by any other means, he sells the implements with which he had been but too familiar. "He lost everything in ," a man who was sometimes his comrade in the sale of these articles said to me, "but he is a very gentlemanly and respectable man."
The profits in this trade are very uncertain. A man who was engaged in it told me that week he had cleared , and the next, with greater pains-taking, did not sell a single thing.
The other articles which are a portion of the -hand miscellaneous trade of this nature are sold as often, or more often, at stalls than elsewhere. Dominoes, for instance, may be seen in the winter, and they are offered only in the winter, on perhaps stalls. They are sold at from a set, and I heard of superior set which were described to me as "brass-pinned," being sold in a handsome box for , the shop price having been The great sale of dominoes is at Christmas.
Pope-Joan boards, which, I was told, were years ago sold readily in the streets, and were examined closely by the purchasers (who were mostly the wives of tradesmen), to see that the print or paint announcing the partitions for "intrigue," "matrimony," "friendship," "Pope," &c., were perfect, are now never, or rarely, seen. Formerly the price was to In the present year I could hear of but man who had even offered a Pope-board for sale in the street, and he sold it, though almost new, for
"Fish," or the bone, ivory, or mother-o'--pearl card counters in the shape of fish, or sometimes in a circular form, used to be sold -hand as freely as the Pope-boards, and are now as rarely to be seen.
Until about years ago, as well as I can fix upon a term from the information I received, the apparatus for a game known as the "Devil among the tailors" was a portion of the miscellaneous -hand trade or hawking of the streets. In it a top was set spinning on a long board, and the result depended upon the number of men, or "tailors," knocked down by the "devil" (top) of each player, these tailors being stationed, numbered, and scored (when knocked down) in the same way as when the balls are propelled into the numbered sockets in a bagatelle-board. I am moreover told that in the same -hand calling were boards known as "solitaire-boards." These were round boards, with a certain number of holes, in each of which was a peg. peg was removed at the selection of the player, and the game consisted in taking each remaining peg, by advancing another over its head into any vacant hole, and if at the end of the game only peg remained in the board, the player won; if winning it could be called when the game could only be played by person, and was for "solitary" amusement. Chinese puzzles, sometimes on a large scale, were then also a part of the -hand traffic of the streets. These are a series of thin woods in geometrical shapes, which may be fitted into certain forms or patterns contained in a book, or on a sheet. These puzzles are sold in the streets
|still, but in smaller quantity and diminished size. Different games played with the teetotum were also a part of -hand street-sale, but none of these bygone pastimes were vended to any extent.|
From the best data I have been able to obtain it appears that the amount received by the streetsellers or street-hawkers in the sale of these -hand articles of amusement is weekly, about half being profit, divided in the proportions I have intimated, as respects the number of streetsellers and the periods of sale; or expended yearly.
I should have stated that the principal customers of this branch of -hand traders are found in the public-houses and at the cigar-shops, where the goods are carried by street-sellers, who hawk from place to place.
These dealers also attend the neighbouring, and, frequently in the summer, the more distant races, where for dice and the better quality of their "boards," &c., they generally find a prompt market. The sale at the fairs consists only of the lowest-priced goods, and in a very scant proportion compared to the races.
|View all images in this book|
|Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles|
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Metal Trays, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Linen, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curtains
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Carpeting, Flannels, Stocking-Legs, &c., &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Bed-Ticking, Sacking, Fringe, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Glass and Crockery
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Miscellaneous Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Musical Instruments
Of the Music 'Duffers'
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Weapons
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Curiosities
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Telescopes and Pocket Glasses
Of the Street-Sellers of Other Miscellaneous Second-Hand Articles
Of Second-Hand Store Shops
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Wholesale Business at the Old Clothes Exchange
Of the Uses of Second-Hand Garments
Of the Street-Sellers of Petticoat and Rosemary-Lanes
Of the Street-Sellers of Men's Second-Hand Clothes
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Boots and Shoes
Of the Street-Sellers of Old Hats
Of the Street-Sellers of Women's Second-Hand Apparel
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Furs
Of the Second-Hand Sellers of Smithfield- Market
|Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals|
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
Of the Former Street-Sellers, 'Finders,' Stealers, and Restorers of Dogs
Of a Dog-'Finder' -- A 'Lurker's' Career
Of the Present Street-Sellers of Dogs.
Of the Street-Sellers of Sporting Dogs
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Birds
Of the Bird-Catchers Who are Street- Sellers
Of the Crippled Street Bird-Seller
Of the Tricks of the Bird-Duffers
Of the Street-Sellers of Foreign Birds
Of the Street-Sellers of Birds'--Nests
Of the Street-Sellers of Squirrels
Of the Street-Sellers of Leverets, Wild Rabbits, Etc.
Of the Street-Sellers of Gold and Silver Fish
Of the Street-Sellers of Tortoises
Of the Street-Sellers of Snails, Frogs, Worms, Snakes, Hedgehogs, Etc.
|Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions and Natural Curiosities|
Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions, &c.
Of the Street-Sellers of Coals
Of the Street-Sellers of Coke
Of the Street-Sellers of Tan-Turf
Of the Street-Sellers of Salt
Of the Street-Sellers of Sand
Of the Street-Sellers of Shells
Of the River Beer-Sellers, or Purl-Men
Of the Numbers, Capital, and income of the Street- Sellers of Second-Hand Articles, Live Animals, Mineral Producions, Etc.
Income, or 'Takinags' of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
|Of the Street-Buyers|
Of the Street-Buyers
Of the Street-Buyers of Rags, Broken Metal, Bottles, Glass, and Bones
Of the 'Rag-and-Bottle,' and the 'Marine-Store' Shops
Of the Buyers of Kitchen-Stuff, Grease, and Dripping
Of the Street-Buyers of Hare and Rabbit Skins
Of the Street-Buyers of Waste (Paper)
Of the Street-Buyers of Umbrellas and Parasols
|Of the Street-Jews|
Of the Street-Jews
Of the Trades and Localities of the Street-Jews
Of the Jew Old-Clothes Men
Of a Jew Street-Seller
Of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Pursuits, Dwellings, Traffic, Etc., of the Jew-Boy Street-Sellers
Of the Street Jewesses and Street Jew-Girls
Of the Synagogues and the Religion of the Street and Other Jews
Of the Politics, Literature, and Amusements of the Jews
Of the Charities, Schools, and Education of the Jews
Of the Funeral Ceremonies, Fasts, and Customs of the Jews
Of the Jew Street-Sellers of Accordions, and of their Street Musical Pursuits
Of the Street-Buyers of Hogs'--Wash
Of the Street-Buyers of Tea-Leaves
|Of the Street-Finders or Collectors|
Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
Bone-Grubbers and Rag-Gatherers
Of the 'Pure'-Finders
Of the Cigar-End Finders
Of the Old Wood Gatherers
Of the Dredgers, or River Finders
Of the Sewer-Hunters
Of the Mud-Larks
Of the London Dustmen, Nightmen, Sweeps, and Scavengers
Of the Dustmen of London
Of the London Sewerage and Scavengery
|Of the Streets of London|
Of the Streets of London
Of the Traffic of London
Of the Dust and Dirt of the Streets of London
Of the Street-Dust of London, and the Loss and injury Occasioned by it
Of the Horse-Dung of the Streets of London
Of Street 'Mac' and Other Mud
Of the Mud of the Streets
Of the Surface-Water of the Streets of London
Of the Master Scavengers in Former Times
Of the Several Modes and Characteristics of Street-Cleansing
Of the Contractors For Scavengery
Of the Contractors' (or Employers') Premises, &c.
Of the Working Scavengers Under the Contractors
Of the 'Casual Hands' Among the Scavagers
Of the Influence of Free Trade on the Earnings of the Scavagers
Of the Worse Paid Scavagers, or Those Working For Scurf Employers
Of the Street-Sweeping Machine, and the Street-Sweepers Employed With it
Of the Cleansing of the Streets by Pauper Labour
Of the Street-Orderlies
Street Orderlies -- City Surveyor's Report
Of the 'Jet and Hose' System of Scavaging
Of the Cost and Traffic of the Streets of London
Of the Rubbish Carters
Of Casual Labour in General, and That of the Rubbish-Carters in Particular
Of the Casual Labourers among the Rubbish-Carters
The Effects of Casual Labour in General
Of the Scurf Trade Among the Rubbish- Carters
|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