The Moving Market, or Cries of London

Description

‘Cries’ or ‘street cries’ are the phrases called out by street sellers to advertise their wares. 

The Cries of London was a popular subject for books, music and engravings, designed both for adults and children. Their appeal is slightly mysterious. Polite adult audiences seem to have found them pleasingly vulgar or even indecent. But as part of children’s culture, they were perhaps meant to serve a more didactic purpose, educating upper- and middle-class children about a less refined part of the world than they might usually encounter, or about ‘otherness’. The image of ‘A Jew’ on the outside back cover here was perhaps meant to seem exotic to young readers who would not necessarily meet a wide range of people in their day-to-day lives. Indeed, a chief attraction of the entire book may have been the introduction to London cosmopolitanism that it provided to provincial readers (it was printed by Houlston of Wellington in Shropshire).

The Moving Market, or Cries of London (1820) provides a selection of London street cries, each accompanied by a woodcut of the vendor. The street sellers, men and women, are depicted offering foods such as gingerbread, oysters and strawberries, household goods such as coal or mousetraps, or services as diverse as mending chairs and polishing shoes. The ‘cry’ was printed beneath a woodcut of each seller and, as the subtitle of this book explains, this provides both ‘Amusement and Instruction’. Although a lot of the cries were probably universal, publishers produced books which were particular to other places both in Britain and abroad. The Cries of York for the Amusement of Young Children published by J Kendrew (c. 1826) was recognisably set in York, and The Cries of Philadelphia (1810) and The Cries of New York (1820) show that their popularity was international.

Full title:
The Moving Market, or Cries of London
Published:
estimated 1820, Wellington, Salop now known as Shropshire
Format:
Book / Children's book / Illustration / Image
Creator:
Unknown
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
012806.de.29.(8.)

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Chapbooks

Article by:
Ruth Richardson
Themes:
Reading and print culture, Popular culture

Chapbooks were small, affordable forms of literature for children and adults that were sold on the streets, and covered a range of subjects from fairy tales and ghost stories to news of politics, crime or disaster. Dr Ruth Richardson explains what this literature looked like, its subject matter and the ways in which it was produced.

The Cries of London

Article by:
The Gentle Author
Themes:
Poverty and the working classes, Reading and print culture, London

The Gentle Author explores William Marshall Craig’s Cries of London prints, which portray the realities of life for street traders in the early 19th century.

Related collection items