Brewer Street, London, W1. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
Leisure Hour – 1863:
The consumption of poultry in London always reaches its climax at Christmas time; and if one can judge by appearances, there must be ten times as much devoured in the Christmas week as in any other week of the year, with the exception of Michaelmas week, so fatal to the geese. As the festive time draws near, the shop of the poulterer – and not only his shop. but his entire housefront – undergoes a striking transformation; by degrees it envelopes itself in plumage up to the fourth story, if it happen to be so high, as though it were preparing to fly away. The geese, turkeys, and barn-door fowls may be reckoned the staple of his store; but besides these, there is every species of British game, from grouse to larks, with no small collection of foreign birds from France, Belgium and Holland. More than this – the poulterer, in the pride of his profession, will exhibit anything rare or curious that has wings to fly, independent of its adaptation to English appetites; a plump seagull, a sprawling stork, a brilliant peacock, a heron, a bittern, a bustard, a huge jack raven – any or all of them he will hang out to view, and would only be too glad of an adjutant, or an ostrich, or a pelican, if he could get one.