Esoteric London

No. 909: Broad Lane, N15

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Lettering, London Types by esotericlondon on August 22, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_2376 copy

Broad Lane, London, N15. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

Dickens’s Dictionary of London, An Unconventional Handbook – Charles Dickens [Jr.], 1882:

Auctions, of all kinds, are institutions which those who have not their London at their finger-ends would do well to avoid. The “MOCK AUCTION” is a swindle pure and simple. It is commonly carried on in a small shop, carefully darkened by filling the window with all kinds of ostensible merchandise, and tenanted chiefly by the proprietor and his confederates, who keep up a lively bidding till some unwary passer-by is seduced into entering, and speedily “stuck” with some perfectly worthless article at a fabulous price. Should the victim find that he is called upon to pay too dearly for his folly, he may, by stoutly denying having made any bid, calling in the police, and, if necessary, showing fight, make his way out again scot free. But he will possibly be roughly handled, probably have his pockets picked, and certainly pass an extremely “mauvais quart d’heure.” There is also a kind of sale of a less distinctly fraudulent description, but still anything but bona fide. It takes place at auction rooms of more or less legitimate position, usually in the evening, and is known to the initiated as a “rigged sale,” consisting chiefly of articles vamped up or originally manufactured for the purpose. It is, indeed, a too frequent custom among the less responsible auctioneers to introduce a number of such articles into sales, and the purchaser will do well to bear this in mind. But the “rigged sale” is practically a mart for such articles only, and for anyone in search of value for his money there are few better places to avoid.

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