Street cries of the world

Street cries were once a popular subject of songs and literature in Britain, continental Europe and elsewhere. Each month from 2018 onwards I'll be scanning and transcribing publications to build this collection.


+ British Isles pre-19th century

− British Isles 1800–49

The Dublin Cries 1800

The New Cries of London 1800

The New Cries of London, with Characteristic Engravings 1803

The Cries of London, as They are Daily Exhibited in the Streets 1804

The Itinerant Traders of London in their Ordinary Costume 1804

London Cries for Children c. 1806

Letters from London 1808

London Cries for Children 1810

Six Charming Children 1812

The Cries of York c. 1812

Portraits of Curious Characters in London 1814

Etchings of Remarkable Beggars 1815

The Merry London Cries c. 1815

The Moving Market: or, Cries of London 1815

Vagabondiana 1817

The Cries of London, Shewing How to Get a Penny for a Rainy Day c. 1820

The Moving Market; or, Cries of London c. 1820

The Cries of London, for the Instruction and Amusement of Good Children c. 1820

Costume of the Lower Orders of London 1820

Rowlandson's Characteristic Sketches of the Lower Orders 1820

Sam Syntax's Description of the Cries of London 1821

Costume of the Lower Orders of the Metropolis 1822

The Cries of London, Drawn from Life 1823

London Melodies; Or, Cries of the Seasons c. 1825

The Every-Day Book and Table Book 1827

The Cries of London, Coloured c. 1830

The Cries in the Streets of London c. 1830

The Cries of Banbury and London c. 1837

The Cries of London: Exhibiting Several of the Itinerant Traders 1839

Knight's London: Street Noises 1841

New Cries of London 1844

The Dublin Cries c. 1844

Old London Cries 1847

The London Cries & Public Edifices 1847

+ British Isles 1850–99

+ British Isles 20th century

+ Continental Europe

+ Russia, Asia and Africa

+ USA, Jamaica and Australia


Cover of London Cries & Public Edifices

Inside cover of London Cries & Public Edifices

Frontispiece of London Cries & Public Edifices

Tower of London


THE Tinker is swinging his fire-pot to make it burn, having placed his soldering-iron in it, and is proceeding to some corner or post, there to repair the saucepan he carries. – We commence with the most interesting edifice in our capital,


the fortress, the palace, and prison, in which so many events, connected with the history of our country, have transpired. The building with four towers in the centre is said to have been erected by William the Conqueror, and is the oldest part of the fortress. The small belltower in the front of our picture is that of the church of St. Peter’s, (the tower being a parish itself,) on the Tower Green, erected in the reign of Edward I. Our view is taken from Tower Hill, near which was the scaffold on which so many have fallen. To the left of the picture stood the grand storehouse of William III., destroyed by fire, Nov. 1841.

The Regalia is deposited here, and exhibited to the public, as is also the Horse Armoury. The present constable of the Tower is the Duke of Wellington.

East India House


THIS drug is carried about for sale by Turks, often habited in the costume of their country. They are Turkish Jews, as Mahomedans seldom travel. The mode of fixing his caftan also indicates him to be one; it is fastened on the left: the Turks make a distinction by adjusting theirs on the right.


is situated in Leadenhall Street; it was built in 1726, and afterwards enlarged, in 1798, by Mr. Jupp, who erected the present front, the pediment of which, by Bacon, exhibits an allegory of the Company, under the protection of George III.; on the apex is a statue of Britannia; on the right hand is a figure of Asia, and on the left one of Europe. Here is conducted all the official business relating to the Company, which now rules a population of 85,000,000 natives of India, besides 51,000,000 who are directly or indirectly affected by them. It contains a Library and Museum, open to the public, free, on Saturdays.

Bank of England


OF all the poor itinerants of London the Match-sellers are the poorest, and subsist as much by donations as by the sale of their wares. The old match, a splinter of wood, with ends dipped in brimstone, is fast disappearing before the modern lucifer or congreve. The poor creature here represented is appealing to a lady and gentleman, (whose shadows are seen in the picture,) on their way to the


This great national establishment was erected in 1788 by Sir John Soane; it covers about eight acres of ground, and consists of nine open courts, almost all the rooms being on the ground-floor, lighted from above, beneath which are very extensive cellars, used for the deposit of bullion. This building is raised on the course of the ancient stream of Wall-Brook. In the Pay-Hall, where the notes are issued and exchanged, is a marble statue of William III,, founder of the Bank, by Cheere. The Court-Room windows overlook a piece of ground, laid out as a garden: this was formerly the churchyard of St. Christopher’s; nearly the whole of this parish is within the walls of the Bank, the church having been removed in 1780, after the riots. The Bank of England is isolated from all other buildings, and fire-proof.

The Royal Exchange


HERE is a poor Irish boy endeavouring to dispose of his oranges to some passengers outside an omnibus, in Cornhill, near the


The merchants used, in olden times, to meet in Lombard Street, until Sir Thomas Gresham built the first edifice here, in 1567, from the designs of Henrick, a Fleming, who, it is said, made constant journeys from London to Flanders, to obtain materials and workmen. All the stone, slate, iron, wainscot, and glass, came from Antwerp; so that the first Exchange might be considered a Dutch building. This pile was burnt down at the Fire of London, in 1666, and a second Exchange was built on the old site, by Gernan, the first stone of which was laid by Charles II., and was completed in 1669, at an expense of £59,000, and was again destroyed by fire in 1838. The present edifice occupies the same spot, of which Prince Albert laid the first stone; and it was opened, with great display, by her Majesty, Queen Victoria, in October, 1844, during the mayoralty of Sir W. Magnay. It is from a design by William Tite; the pediment, seen in the drawing, is by R. Westmacott, Jun.

The Mansion House


THESE little prisons are principally manufactured and sold by foreigners, who have them of all sizes and shapes (to suit the nature and habits of the little captive melodists).


is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London during his mayoralty; it is situated at the west end of Cornhill, in Mansion-House Street.

When it was first resolved, by the Common Council, to build the Mansion-House, Lord Burlington sent a design of Palladio, for their approbation and adoption. The first question in court was, not as to the applicability of the plan, but as to whether Palladio was a freeman of the city or no. Some discussion ensued, and a member rose, stating it little mattered, as it was notorious that Palladio was a Papist, and incapable as a matter of course. Lord Burlington’s proposal was rejected, and the design of a freeman and Protestant adopted. The architect was originally a shipwright, and it has been likened to a deepladen Indiaman. The portico is supported by six Corinthian columns. On the pediment is an allegory of the wealth of London. Here the Lord Mayor holds his court, as chief magistrate of the city. It was erected in 1753.

Old College of Physicians


THIS artificer does not necessarily pay much rent for workshops, as he commences operations with his canes or rushes up the nearest court or gateway; or, if the chairs are not wanted in a great hurry, asks permission to take them home, that he may work them in his back-room with more convenience, returning them to their owners when he next comes his rounds.


was erected in 1674, from designs by Sir Christopher Wren, and consists of a quadrangular court. The room over the gateway, surmounted by a cupola and crowned with a ball, was the Lecture Theatre. In the court-yard, which has been roofed in, and is now used as a butchers’ market, are statues of Charles II. and Sir J. Cutler. The building is now occupied by a coppersmith. Warwick Lane is chiefly tenanted by slaughtermen and carcase-butchers, being near to Newgate Market. Our view is taken from Paternoster Row, the literary mart of the world. The new College of Physicians is situated in Pall Mall East.



THE food for these domestic animals is sold about London from barrows or small carts, and consists generally of the flesh of horses. As the vendor approaches, the cats or dogs bound out at the well-known cry, often forming such a group as we have here, in


which is the only cattle market in London. It was formerly situated just without the city walls. It has been used as a cattle market since 1 150, and was then, as we have stated, in the fields, but is now in the very heart of London. Our view was taken on Friday afternoon, during the horse market. Hay and straw are sold here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. In the background may be seen the tower of the church of St. Bartholomew the Less, and the entrance to Bartholomew’s Hospital: the present building was erected in 1730. Immediately above’ the gateway of the hospital is seen the dome of


for a nearer view of which we turn to the title-page. It was built by Sir Christopher Wren, on the site of the former, (burnt in the great fire,) and cost £736,000; it took thirty-five years building, the expenses of which were raised by a duty on coals.

St John's Gate, Clerkenwell


THE costume of the Dustman bears a strong resemblance to that of the coalheaver, who appears to be of the same family, probably through their both being connected with the same material, the one before it is burnt, the other after. They formerly rang a bell to intimate their approach, but made so much noise therewith, as to cause the legislature to interfere, prohibiting its use.


This building is the only relic of that once powerful military order of monks, St. John of Jerusalem. The priory was established about 1100, but it was forty years after this that they became a military order, and the noblest of the time sought admission into its ranks. In the thirteenth century they were said to possess thirteen thousand manors, in various Christian lands. The house was suppressed by Henry VIII., who used it as a military storehouse. In the reign of James I. the gate was given to Sir Roger Wilbraham. Here, in 1730, Cave printed the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” which still bears a view of the gate on its cover; it is now used as a public-house, and called the Old Jerusalem Tavern. It has lately been partially restored by voluntary subscriptions.

Temple Bar


THE blind must gain a livelihood, as well as those who are blest with sight; but, alas! how few are the arts which can be performed by one so bereft; hence the necessity of an appeal to the benevolent – “Pity the poor blind!” He sells cabbage-nets, kettle-holders, or laces, doubtless the work of his own hands in the evenings, which we term ” blindman’s holiday.” – We are proceeding along Fleet Street, soon to pass under


which is the only remaining city gate* It was built in 1670, by Sir Christopher Wren, after the great fire. On this, the city side, are statues of James and Anne of Denmark; on the other are Charles I. and II. The gate is now only closed on such occasions as the Queen going in state to the city, when she is not admitted until the pursuivant has knocked and permission been granted by the Lord Mayor.

On the top of this gate were formerly exhibited the heads of traitors; the last exposed here were those of persons who suffered after the rebellion of 1745.

Horace Walpole, in a letter dated 16th Aug., 1746, says, “I have this morning been at the Tower, and passed under the new heads at Temple Bar, where people make a trade of letting spy-glasses, at a halfpenny each, to view them.” One of the iron spikes remained till the present century.

Somerset House


DURING the day the Umbrella-mender goes his rounds, repeating these words, “Umbrellas to mend! Sixpence apiece for your old broken umbrellas!” and, having collected enough, he returns home to patch and mend, after which he or some of his family hawks them about for sale. Here he appears in his glory, under the auspices of St. Swithen, the patron saint of umbrella and patten-maker. It is the Strand, near


On this site formerly stood Somerset Palace, built by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, about 1549. The present building was begun in 1774, after a design by Sir W. Chambers. The Strand front is one hundred and thirty feet long, has a rustic basement supporting Corinthian columns, and is crowned in the centre with an attic, surmounted by a group consisting of the arms of Britain supported by the genius of England and Fame. Nine large arches compose the basement, three of which open into the court. The key-stones are nine masks, representing the ocean and the eight chief rivers of England. In the quadrangle, directly fronting the entrance, is a bronze figure of the Thames, by Bacon; also a statue of George III. It has a Thames front, with a spacious terrace and water-gate.

Covent Garden Market


OF cherries there are a great variety; most come from the county of Kent, and are sold in the streets of London, sometimes as low as one penny per pound! the sellers of which are often addicted to giving short weight, as their customers apprehend, hence the cry of “full weight.”


The ground on which this market stands belonged to the Abbots of Westminster, and was called Convent Garden. On the destruction of the monasteries it was given to the Duke of Somerset; and, after his misfortunes, was granted to the Earl of Bedford, in 1552, who let it for building, and Inigo Jones designed the piazza, a portion of which occupies the north and part of the east sides. The origin of the market was casual. Persons came here, and stood in the centre of the square, until it grew to the establishment of a market, which consisted of rough sheds until, about 1830, when the present market was built by the Duke of Bedford. One part is devoted to vegetables, and others to fruits, flowers, and plants.