Churchwell Path, London, E9. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
Curiosities of London Life: or Phases, Physiological and Social, of the Great Metropolis – Charles Manby Smith, 1857:
It must be eight or nine years ago since we first encountered Bob, in — Street, Covent Garden, in one of our early morning rambles. Who he was, or where he came from, we never knew. On his first appearance, he was a grimy, half-starved, little tatterdemalion, without a shirt, a shoe, or a hat, and with six months’ growth of matted raven hair, through the lank and thatchy locks of which a pair of vivid eyes flashed from as pallid and hungry a face as ever child of eleven years of age bared to an adverse destiny. He seemed as if just dropped from some forlorn planet into a world of strangers, amongst whom he looked wildly and eagerly around – not for favour or the relief of alms, but for work – work, and bread, though but a crust, in return.