Community History

The Cries of London

This Friday 15th Sept, The Gentle Author gives a free, illustrated talk on the 400 year history of street pedlars in London.

An old black and white print of a street pedlar carrying rabbits.
‘Rabbit, Rabbit – Nice fat Rabbit!’ by Luke Clennell 1812 (courtesy Bishopsgate Institute)

If anyone wants to come to this FREE lecture/show on The Cries of London at Great St Barts (this Fri, 15 Sept, 7pm) – by the Gentle Author who does the excellent blog Spitalfields Life you can bag a free ticket here. I recommend it, he’s a great storyteller, knows his subject backwards, and you’ll be surrounded by Gothic splendour and (hold back, people) I’ll be there! (In any case if you haven’t been to Great St Barts you should – it’s 900 years old this year and one of London’s great survivals). Oliver Bennett

The Gentle Author presents a choice selection of images of THE CRIES OF LONDON, telling the stories of the artists and celebrated traders, and revealing the unexpected social realities contained within these cheap colourful prints produced for the mass market over the last 400 years.

For centuries, these lively images of familiar hawkers and pedlars have been treasured by Londoners. In the capital, those who had no other means of income could always sell wares in the street and, by turning their presence into performance through song, they won the hearts of generations and came to embody the spirit of London itself.


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