Historical references to London's sounds

A database of several hundred historical descriptions and references to London's sounds. They're drawn mainly from primary sources such as autobiographies, diaries and statutes, as well as novels written around the times they depict.

11th to
16th to
18th Early
 Beggars, hustlers and scavengers   1 1 1   2 3 1
 Street entertainers             2  
 Costermongers and street traders   1   2 1 5 2  
 Transport for hire   1 1          
 Quack doctors       1        
 Recruitment of workers     1     1    
 Work songs and music             1  
 Workplace cries and audible signals       1 1 2 3  
 Shops and shop staff         1   3  

Period referred to: End of 17th century

Sound category: Economic > Beggars and hustlers

Title of work: The London Spy

Type of publication: Journal/Social investigation

Author: Ned Ward

Year of publication: 1690-1700

Page/volume number: Chapter I

Ned Ward and friend escape the attentions of confidence tricksters

As soon as we came near the bar, a thing started up, all ribbons, lace and feathers, and made such a noise with her bell and her tongue together that had half a dozen paper-mills been at work within three yards of her, they'd have signify'd no more to her clamorous voice than so many lutes to a drum. This alarmed two or three nimble-heel'd fellows aloft, who shot themselves downstairs with as much celerity as a mountebank's Mercury upon a rope from the top of a church steeple, every one charged with a mouthful of 'Coming! Coming!'

[. . .]

All our empty plates and dishes were, in an instant, changed into full quarts of purple nectar and unsullied glasses. Then a bumper to the Queen led the van to our good wishes, another to the Church Established, a third was left to the whimsy of the toaster, till at last their slippery engines of verbosity coin'd nonsense with such a facile fluency [. . .] Oaths were plenty as weeds in an almshouse garden, and in triumph flew about from one to t'other like squibs and crackers in Cheapside [. . .] But, thanks to good fortune, my friend in a little time redeemed me out of this purgatory; perceiving my uneasiness, he made an apology for our going, and so we took our leaves.