These men, for by far the great majority are men, may be divided, according to the nature of their occupations, into classes:—
. The bone-grubbers and rag-gatherers, who are, indeed, the same individuals, the pure-finders, and the cigar-end and old wood collectors.
. The dredgermen, the mud-larks, and the sewer-hunters.
. The dustmen and nightmen, the sweeps and the scavengers.
The class go abroad daily to in the streets, and carry away with them such things as bones, rags, "pure" (or dogs'--dung), which no appropriates. These they sell, and on that sale support a wretched life. The class of people are also as strictly ; but their industry, or rather their labour, is confined to the river, or to that subterranean city of sewerage unto which the Thames supplies the great outlets. These persons may not be immediately connected with the of London, but their pursuits are carried on in the open air (if the sewer-air may be so included), and are all, at any rate, outof- door avocations. The class is distinct from either of these, as the labourers comprised in it are not finders, but or of the dirt and filth of our streets and houses, and of the soot of our chimneys.
The classes also differ from the in the fact that the sweeps, dustmen, scavengers, &c., are paid (and often large sums) for the removal of the refuse they collect; whereas the bone-grubbers, and mud-larks, and pure-finders, and dredgermen, and sewer-hunters, get for their pains only the value of the articles they gather.
Herein, too, lies a broad distinction between the street-finder, or collector, and the street-buyer: though both deal principally with refuse, the buyer for what he is permitted to take away; whereas the finder or collector is either paid (like the sweep), or else he neither pays nor is paid (like the bone-grubber), for the refuse that he removes.
The class of street-collectors also presents another and a markedly distinctive characteristic. They act in the capacity of servants, and do not depend upon chance for the result of their day's labour, but are put to stated tasks, being employed and paid a fixed sum for their work. To this description, however, some of the sweeps present an exception; as when the sweep works on his own account, or, as it is worded, "is his own master."
The public health requires the periodical cleaning of the streets, and the removal of the refuse matter from our dwellings; and the man who contracts to carry on this work is decidedly a streetcollector; for on what he collects or removes depends the amount of his remuneration. Thus a wealthy contractor for the public scavengery, is as entirely of the street-folk as the unskilled and ignorant labourer he employs. The master lives, and, in many instances, has become rich, on the results of his street employment; for, of course, the actual workmen are but as the agents or sources of his profit. Even the collection of "pure" (dogs'--dung) in the streets, if conducted by the servants of any tanner or leather dresser, either for the purposes of his own trade or for sale to others, might be the occupation of a wealthy man, deriving a small profit from the labour of each particular collector. The same may also be said of bone-grubbing, or any similar occupation, however insignificant, and now abandoned to the outcast.
Were the collection of mud and dust carried on by a number of distinct individuals—that is to say, were each individual dustman and scavenger to collect on his own account, there is no doubt that no could amass a fortune by such means—while if the collection of bones and rags and even dogs'--dung were carried on "in the large way," that is to say, by a number of individual collectors working for "head man," even the picking up of the most abject refuse of the metropolis might become the source of great riches.
The bone-grubber and the mud-lark (the searcher for refuse on the banks of the river) differ little in their pursuits or in their characteristics, excepting that the mud-larks are generally boys, which is more an accidental than a definite distinction. The grubbers are with a few exceptions stupid, unconscious of their degradation, and with little anxiety to be relieved from it. They are usually taciturn, but this taciturn habit is common to men whose callings, if they cannot be called solitary, are pursued with little communication with others. I was informed by a man who once kept a little beer-shop near , Bridge-road (where then and still, he thought, was a bone-grinding establishment), that the bone-grubbers who carried their sacks of bones thither sometimes had a pint of beer at his house when they had received their money. They usually sat, he told me, silently looking at the corners of the floor—for they rarely lifted their eyes up—as if they were expecting to see some bones or refuse there available for their bags. Of this inertion, perhaps fatigue and despair may be a part. I asked some questions of a man of this class whom I saw pick up in a road in the suburbs something that appeared to have been a coarse canvas apron, although it was wet after a night's rain and half covered with mud. I inquired of him what he thought about when he trudged along looking on the ground on every side. His answer was, "Of nothing, sir." I believe that no better description could be given of that vacuity of mind or mental inactivity which seems to form a part of the most degraded callings. The minds of such men, even without an approach to idiotcy, appear to be a blank. characteristic of these poor fellows, bone-grubbers and mud-larks, is that they
The further and more minute characteristics of the curious class of street-finders or collectors will be found in the particular details and statements.
Among the finders there is perhaps the greatest poverty existing, they being the very lowest class of all the street-people. Many of the very old live on the hard dirty crusts they pick up out of the roads in the course of their rounds, washing them and steeping them in water before they eat them. Probably that vacuity of mind which is a distinguishing feature of the class is the mere atony or emaciation of the mental faculties proceeding from—though often producing in the want of energy that it necessarily begets—the extreme wretchedness of the class. But even their liberty and a crust—as it frequently literally is—appears preferable to these people to the restrictions of the workhouse. Those who are unable to comprehend the inertia of both body and mind begotten by the despair of long-continued misfortune are referred to page of the volume of this work, where it will be found that a tinman, in speaking of the misery connected with the early part of his street-career, describes the effect of extreme want as producing not only an absence of all hope, but even of a desire to better the condition. Those, however, who have studied the mysterious connection between body and mind, and observed what different creatures they themselves are before and after dinner, can well understand that a long-continued deficiency of food must have the same weakening effect on the muscles of the mind and energy of the thoughts and will, as it has on the limbs themselves.
Occasionally it will be found that the utter abjectness of the bone-grubbers has arisen from the want of energy begotten by intemperate habits. The workman has nothing but this same energy to live upon, and the permanent effect of stimulating liquors is to produce an amount of depression corresponding to the excitement momentarily caused by them in the frame. The operative, therefore, who spends his earnings on "drink," not only squanders them on a brutalising luxury, but deprives himself of the power, and consequently of the disposition, to work for more, and hence that idleness, carelessness, and neglect which are the distinctive qualities of the drunkard, and sooner or later compass his ruin.
For the poor wretched children who are reared to this the lowest trade of all, surely even the most insensible and unimaginative must feel the acutest pity. There is, however, this consolation: I have heard of none, with the exception of the more prosperous sewer-hunters and dredgermen, who have remained all their lives at street-finding. Still there remains much to be done by all those who are impressed with a sense of the trust that has been confided to them, in the possession of those endowments which render their lot in this world so much more easy than that of the less lucky street-finders.
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|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