London Street Life, 1877: More Photos From John Thomson

I found some more photos taken in Victorian London by John Thomson. They were commissioned for the book, ‘Street Life In London’, shown below.

A signwriter in his studio.

A ‘Sandwich-Board Man’ advertising as he walked around.

Cheap lodgings and food available for the down and outs.

Bill Posters pasting advertising posters onto walls.

A ‘Caney’. He would repair cane and wicker chairs.

Army Recruiting Sergeants outside a pub in Westminster.

Women flower-sellers in Covent Garden.

39 thoughts on “London Street Life, 1877: More Photos From John Thomson

  1. The man repairing cane… They were quite a few shops in the neighourhood selling all kinds of things made of cane, but most of them have disappeared. What a shame! Thanks for sharing those, Pete. The ladies selling flowers made me think of My Fair Lady. None look quite as glamorous as Audrey Hepburn, but, who knows what they might have become with the right education? Thanks, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) Signs are the fruits of his labor.
    (2) Did you hear about the good-lookin’ young bloke who got stuck between two overweight grannies on the bus? He saw himself as a sandwich-bored man.
    (3) Overheard:
    Down ‘n’ Outer: “You got cheap food and lodging here?”
    Lodge owner: “Yes, and the women are cheap, too!”
    (4) Shouldn’t William Fish be wrapped in paper?
    (5) The caney had a thriving business until his customers revolted. #TheCaneMutiny
    (6) Army Recruiting Sergeant: “Can I recruit you to buy us all a drink?”
    (7) By the end of the day, those women had all been deflowered.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a child I remember it being hard to keep warm in England and a lot of people in these photographs are bundled up. It seems as if summers only really got hot in recent times? I like the faces in these pictures. They had tough lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The summers were still hot when I was a child. But the winters were fierce in the 1950s here. Those people would also have had to wear whatever they owned, irrespective of the weather. Otherwise it might be stolen in their absence, and sold.
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. It was a common tactic, Don. Get them while they are drunk! 🙂
      One story from the Napoleonic Era is interesting. Naval recruiters would give men a tankard of ale, containing a shilling piece. When they had drunk it down, the recruiters would grab them and force them into service. They claimed the man had “Taken the King’s shilling”. That gift of a shilling was the first thing a recruit received on enlistment. But hiding it in beer was a cheap trick.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Another interesting set of images. Most of the people look very care worn, I suspect life was tough then unless you were at the top of the pile. Watching the news, I wonder how much has changed. But I won’t start on that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life was very tough for ordinary people, Helen. Even the poorest people in the UK today live relatively comfortable lives compared to the working-class Victorians.
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. There were no benefits or unemployment pay at the time of course. People had to walk the streets to earn a living at whatever trade they were capable of. They lived day-to-day, on whatever money they had available. Hard times for many, Beth.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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