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Orange girl

costor  wife Although fruit sellers are normally referred to as orange girls they offered a variety of produce namely figs, plums, apples, oranges, lemons, strawberries, cherries, and mulberries. Fruit sellers usually sold from baskets but also from barrows. Soft fruits such as strawberries were packaged in small cone shaped baskets called pottles that held about a quart. When you purchase a pottle take care, disreputable vendors often stuff the bottom with paper or overripe berries.
The English often refer to "cherries in the rise " this means they were sold either on the branch or attached to a stick as to give one the feeling of eating fresh picked cherries. Cherries cost about 2 pence per lb
Oranges were a common treat at the theatres.
Round & sound 5d a pound, new cherries!

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Pie Sellers

Piemen would often "toss " customers for a pie. The flip of one's coin would determine whether one paid for one's purchase or retained both the coin and the pie. Piemen were noted for their good humor and betting nature.
Holes were cut in the tops of pies so that warm gravy could be added.

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Costormonger

These vendors usually brought potatoes, turnips, peas, cabbages, asparagus, beans, parsnips, leaks, collyflowers, carrots, plums or pears . They also sold scrubbing sand.

Cowcumbers to Pickle Buy my Four Ropes of Hard Onyons New Potatoes Ripe Asparagus
Cowcumbers to Pickle!Buy my Four Ropes of Hard Onyons!New Potatoes!Ripe Asparagus!
Turnips & carrots, ho! Hot Peas
Turnips & carrots, ho!Hot Peas!

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Fishmonger

Twelve pence a peck. Oysters!
Twelve pence a peck. Oysters!

These vendors wore horizontal blue and white stripes to advertize themselves. Bowler hats eventually became part of their unique costume.

Oysters sellers wore a white apron, a hood and a broad hat. They often served them with butter bread calling fresh oysters penny a lot.

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Fishwives

New mackrel
New mackrel!

Fishwives went door to door selling fresh fish.


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Butchers

These vendors wore vertical blue and white stripes to advertize themselves.

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Ballad sellers

A new love song only ha'penny a piece

These sheet music sellers were among the poorest of costors, usually women from seven-dials area. Beware a person calling Buy a ballad they are commonly pickpockets.

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Chair Bodger

Chairs repaired!

Repairing chairs was a common profession for injured or retired sailors. They would often set up shop in a quiet alley and send their wife or a child out to solicit work.

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Manton of London and Calcutta (1869-1874)

This 19th Century Shotgun manufacturer also ran a gallery where gentlemen could shoot at practice wafers. Lord Byron briefly mentions shooting at Manton in his letters. The Duke of Portland was one of their customers. The family business began as simply John Manton's in 1810. In 1825 Joseph Manton took over. It was known as J. Manton & Son from 1832 until the Calcutta shop opened.

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Shops

Most London shops were open until about 8 or 9 pm.

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Theatre

All productions ended about midnight; before 1817 curtain generally rose at 6:30, after 1817 productions began at 7pm. Opera always began at 8pm. Haymarket was open particularly late rarely closing before 12:30 and occasionally as late as 2am.
Christmas entertainments opened on December 26th. Easter marked beginning of the Season which continued until Whitsuntide. This marked the beginning of the Summer season when the Haymarket theatre would open. At Michaelmas Summer season ended followed by a two week break before Winter season began.

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This site last updated March 2003 by webmaster