Esoteric London

No. 1063: Langham Road, N15

Posted in London Labour, London Types by esotericlondon on March 26, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_7808 copy

Langham Road, London, N15. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

The Morning Chronicle: Labour And The Poor, Letter LVI – Henry Mayhew, 1849-50:

In London the ballad-singers generally work in couples – especially the comic singers. The sentimental more commonly go alone; but there are very few in London who are merely sentimental ballad-singers – not more than a dozen at the very outside. The rest sing whatever comes up. The tunes are mostly picked up from the street bands, and sometimes from the cheap concerts, or from the gallery of the theatre, where the street ballad-singers very often go, for the express purpose of learning the airs. They are mostly utterly ignorant of music, and some of them get their money by the noise they make, by being paid to move on. There is a house in the Blackfriars road where the people has been ill for these last sixteen years, and where the street ballad-singer always goes, because he is sure of getting twopence there to move on. Some, too, make a point of beginning their songs outside of those houses where straw is laid down in front. Where the knockers are done up in an old glove the ballad-singer is sure to strike up.

[The complete letter LVI can be read at R.D.]