Esoteric London

No. 129: Old Street, EC1

Posted in Public Art by esotericlondon on August 26, 2010

Old Street, London, EC1. Photo © Roger Dean

Labour and the Poor – Henry Mayhew, 1850:

The [baked potato] business continues only during the winter months. It begins about the middle of August and continues to the latter end of April. As soon as the potatoes get to any size, the baked-potato season generally commences, and it lasts till the potatoes get bad. The season upon an average continues about half the year. The business is found to depend much upon the weather. If it is cold and frosty the trade is generally much brisker than in wet weather; indeed then very little is doing. The best times for the business in the course of the day are from half-past ten in the morning till two in the afternoon, and from five in the evening till about eleven or twelve at night. The night trade is considered the better trade. In cold weather they are frequently bought to warm the hands, and in the morning some buy them for lunch, and some housekeepers send out to the stand for them for their dinner. At night, about nine o’clock, which is found to be the best time in the night, they are purchased for supper. The customers consist of all classes. Many gentlefolks buy them in the street, and take them home for supper in their pockets.

[ Readers recently travelling on the 55 bus may well have noticed these “spudniks”.  They are the latest wave of alien potatoes to colonise the roofs of the routes bus shelters and are the work of the artist NoNose. R.D.]

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