Cries, Itinerants and Services

(Case 5, nos. 104-123)

Many tradesmen were itinerant, either because the tradesman was too poor to establish a business, or because of the nature of his work. Through most of the 18th century and into the 19th (and indeed from the Middle Ages) hawkers went through the streets, most crying their wares, some merely begging. Their wares were carried in baskets, on their heads, or strapped to their bodies. London cries are represented by many prints, notably The Cryes of the City of London drawne after the life by M. Lauron (1653-1702). Marcellus Lauron (or Laroon) was the first artist to sign his sketches of the criers (see nos. 104, 106 and 125-127). The poverty of the clothes of many betrays the lack of poetry in their condition, although street criers are celebrated in ballads, popular songs (including, in the 19th century, music-hall songs) and even art music, such as The Cryes of London by Orlando Gibbons. Laroon captured in his prints not only the occupations of the criers but also their characters.

Images of female hawkers (who were numerous) continue into part 6.

Other itinerants were chapmen, who hawked wares from London to the country. We have very little information about these hawkers, but tantalising glimpses are afforded by references in trade cards, of Thomas Rimer (115) and Alexander Jolly (116), for example. of the sort of goods supplied to them

Most itinerants had no trade card. Those who did, frequently used them to announce their arrival in each town in advance, such as Dr Pattison, bone setter (108) and Richard Colsell, tinman (114). In Richard Colsell’s bill we find an example of an exhortation to keep the bill until called for, an economical method of advertising and also a way of ensuring that the tradesman’s name was remembered.


Case 5 Supplementary Images

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