London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2
Of the Numbers, Capital, and income of the Street- Sellers of Second-Hand articles, Live animals, Mineral Productions, Etc.
THE hawkers of -hand articles, live animals, mineral productions, and natural curiosities, form, as we have seen, large important classes of the street-sellers. According to the facts already given, there appear to be at present in the streets, sellers of metal wares, including the sellers of secondhand trays and Italian-irons; sellers of old linen, as wrappers and towelling; vendors of -hand (burnt) linen and calico; sellers of curtains; sellers of carpeting, &c.; sellers of bed-ticking, &c.; sellers of old crockery and glass; sellers of old musical instruments; vendors of -hand weapons; sellers of old curiosities; vendors of telescopes and pocket glasses; to sellers of other miscellaneous -hand articles; sellers of men's secondhand clothes; sellers of old boots and shoes; vendors of old hats; sellers of women's -hand apparel; vendors of -hand bonnets, and sellers of old furs; sellers of -hand articles at Smithfield-market;— making altogether street-sellers of secondhand commodities.
But some of the above trades are of a tem- porary character only, as in the case of the vendors of old linen towelling or wrappers, carpets, bed-ticking, &c.—the same persons who sell the often selling the others; the towels and wrappers, moreover, are offered for sale only on the Monday and Saturday nights. Assuming, then, that upwards of or - of the above number sell different -hand articles, or are not continually employed at that department of street-traffic, we find the total number of street-sellers belonging to this class to be about .
Concerning the number selling live animals in the streets, there are men vending fancy and sporting dogs; sellers and "duffers" of English birds; sellers of parrots and other foreign birds; sellers of birds'--nests, &c.; vendors of squirrels; sellers of leverets and wild rabbits; vendors of gold and silver fish; vendors of tortoises; and sellers of snails, frogs, worms, &c.; or, allowing for the temporary and mixed character of many of these trades, we may say that there are constantly engaged in this branch of street-commerce.
Then of the street-sellers of mineral productions and natural curiosities, there are vendors of coals; sellers of coke; sellers of tanturf; vendors of salt; sellers of sand; sellers of shells; or in all. From this number the sellers of shells must be deducted, as the shell-trade is not a special branch of streettraffic. We may, therefore, assert that the number of people engaged in this latter class of streetbusiness amounts to about .
Now, adding all these sums together, we have the following table as to the numbers of individuals comprised in the division of the London street-folk, viz. the street-sellers:—
These numbers, it should be remembered, are given rather as an approximation to the truth than as the absolute fact. It would therefore be safer to say, making all due allowance for the temporary and mixed character of many branches of street-commerce, that there are about people engaged in selling articles in the streets of London. I am induced to believe that this is very near the real number of street-sellers, from the returns of the places where the street-sellers purchase their goods, and which I have always made a point of collecting from the best authorities connected with the various branches of street-traffic. The statistics of the fish and green markets, the swag-shops, the old clothes exchange, the bird-dealers, which I have caused to be collected for the time in this country, all tend to corroborate this estimate.
The next fact to be evolved is the amount of capital invested in the street-sale of -hand Articles, of Live Animals, and of Mineral Productions. And, , as to the money employed in the -hand Street-Trade.
The following tables will show the amount of capital invested in this branch of street-business.
Hence it would appear that the gross amount of property belonging to the street-sellers may be reckoned as follows:—
The gross value of the stock in trade of the London street-sellers may then be estimated at about