Wednesday, September 13, 2006


stonemason blacksmith

fishmonger hatter

glassblower shipwright

letterpress and copperplate printers

bookbinder and blogger

brewer cooper

engraver papermaker

carpenter bricklayer

scavenger mudlark

dogseller disabled streetsweeper

rubbish carter and bootseller

birdsnest seller and bonegrubber

The top section of images come from 'The book of trades; or, Familiar descriptions of the most useful trades, manufactures, and arts practised in England : and the manner in which the workmen perform their various employments. London: A. K. Newman, undated, inscribed 1829' at the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture from the University of Wisconsin. {click on 'Display Gallery View'} [And apologies to normanpublishing]

The rest of the images are from 'London Labour and the London Poor' [Volume 2] 1861 by Henry Mayhew, among the 'The Bolles Collection on the History of London' at Tufts Digital Library. [Mayhew: CISS/Wikipedia] -- This is a truly fascinating (not to mention patronising) and detailed survey of the wretched vagabonds and street hustlers of Victorian London. It includes extensive interviews of subjects and methodical profiling of the seediest 'occupations'. It is the Dickens of non-fiction.

Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
"These men, for by far the great majority are men, may be divided, according to the nature of their occupations, into three classes:--

1. The bone-grubbers and rag-gatherers, who are, indeed, the same individuals, the pure-finders, and the cigar-end and old wood collectors.
2. The dredgermen, the mud-larks, and the sewer-hunters.
3. The dustmen and nightmen, the sweeps and the scavengers.

The first class go abroad daily to find in the streets, and carry away with them such things as bones, rags, “pure” (or dogs’ dung), which no one appropriates. These they sell, and on that sale support a wretched life.

The second class of people are also as strictly finders; 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 streets 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 third class is distinct from either of these, as the labourers comprised in it are not finders, but collectors or removers of the dirt and filth of our streets and houses, and of the soot of our chimneys."


Sam Wallin said...

Wow, there were Bloggers in Europe in 1829?

gl. said...

did you replace "the basketmaker" with "the blogger"?

happy birthday! (nice pinata. :)

gl. from scarlet star studios

Jerub-Baal said...

As someone much higher in the foodchain than I might say, "Heh!"

And I second the happy birthday wishes!

peacay said...


Bloggers or basketmakers...artisans by any other name. *cough*

I would be much happier however if I hadn't somehow borked the template during or after posting this entry. It's driving me a bit nuts and I'm tempted to start another blog and copy the template across (for 'artisan', read: 'woefully uneducated abuser of technology')

Michael said...

See, we do pay attention!

Happy anniversary from Articles & Texticles!

Marly Youmans said...

A very happy bird's nest and bones blog-birthday, and I hope it is not the least bit disagreeable, and that your template behaves. What with mud-larks and scavengers and sweepers, you might be wading through "Our Mutual Friend."

lotusgreen said...

you are too funny :^)

happy birthday!

pita ou franck said...

Happy birthday to the first classe blogger! from the 3 classe sweeps family

Santiago Mansilla said...


tellurian said...

I came across this today (Jan Luyken), so I thought I'd stick it in here.

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