No. 880: Gorsuch Street, E2
Gorsuch Street, London, E2. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
Lights and Shadows of London Life – [James Payn], 1867:
At three o’clock, we found ourselves in Villiers Street, Strand, which, now that Hungerford Market is no more, is The Way to the Steam-boats.
“The tide is low,” quoth Y, “which is a pity.”
“And how can you possibly know that as yet ?” asked I.
“Because there are no boys in the street,” answered my companion. “When the water is in, they stand on their heads, or ‘do the wheel,’ for half-pennies on shore; when the water is out – you shall see for yourself what they do.”
A few steps brought us to the wretched pier, built up of decaying timbers, and ornamented with advertisement boards: on either side of it, knee deep in the mud, stood the boys, clamouring for largess, and prepared to dive down in the sluggish ooze, to fight with one another, to exhaust a whole vocabulary of abuse, for the smallest copper coin. They were dressed in a uniform suit of darkish but glossy brown, which fitted them more admirably than any they could have procured in Bond Street: this was nothing but mud. When the tide came up, they would presently wash themselves in it, and put on their rags.