Advert for the Oyster Saloon & Restaurant
Printer: Straker, W
Medium: Print on paper
In the early 19th century oysters were in plentiful supply, and were so inexpensive that many among the working classes ate them every day. Londoners alone consumed 700 million oysters every year, usually covered in vinegar and washed down with a pint of ale. Sam Waller in Dickens' 'Pickwick Papers' makes the barbed comment: “poverty and oysters always seem to go together.”
England's oyster stock was ultimately a victim of water pollution and overfishing. By the start of the first World War, the oyster trade in England had dropped by 75%.