Labour History Review

‘Jaunty individualists’ or labour activists? Costermongers, trade unions, and the politics of the poor

Labour History Review (2001), 66, (2), 147–164.

Abstract

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

C. E. B. Russell and E. T. Campagnac, ‘The Organization of Costermongers and Street-vendors in Manchester’, Economic Review, 10, 1900, p. 188 ‘The Organization of Costermongers and Street-vendors in Manchester’ Economic Review 10 188 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

H. Pelling, Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910, London, Macmillan, 1967, p. 425 Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910 425 Google Scholar

P. Thompson, Socialists, Liberals and Labour: The Struggle for London 1885-1914, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967, p. 87 Socialists, Liberals and Labour: The Struggle for London 1885-1914 87 Google Scholar

P. F. Brooks, The Pearly Kings and Queens, Chichester, Barry Rose, 1975, p. 5. See S. Williams, ‘Religious belief and popular culture: a study of the South London borough of Southwark c. 1880-1939’, DPhil, University of Oxford, 1993, p. 99 and her ‘Urban Popular Religion and the Rites of Passage’, in H. McLeod (ed.), European Religion in the Age of the Great Cities 1830-1930, 1995, London, Routledge, pp. 231-2 The Pearly Kings and Queens 5 Google Scholar

H. Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, Vol. I, New York, Dover, 1968, first published 1861, p. 6 London Labour and the London Poor I 6 Google Scholar

G. Stedman Jones, ‘The "cockney" and the nation, 1780-1988’, in D. Feldman and G. Stedman Jones (eds), Metropolis London: Histories and Representations since 1800, London, Routledge, 1989, esp. pp. 294-300 Metropolis London: Histories and Representations since 1800 294 300 Google Scholar

R. I. McKibbin, ‘Why was there no Marxism in Great Britain?’ in R. I. McKibbin, The Ideologies of Class: Social Relations in Britain 1880-1950, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 4. While McKibbin refers in this passage also to other workers in the ‘service sector’, it is clear from the references he provides that this argument comes essentially from images of the costers The Ideologies of Class: Social Relations in Britain 1880-1950 4 Google Scholar

Thompson, Socialists, p. 87; and see Pelling, Geography, pp. 53 and 425 Google Scholar

East London Observer, 9 March, 1901; and see Thompson, Socialists, p. 87 fn. 1 Google Scholar

East London Observer, 16 March 1901 Google Scholar

See letter from Benjamin Davis, Jewish Chronicle, 29 March 1895 Google Scholar

Daily News, 28 September 1900; 1 October 1900 Google Scholar

Street and Market Trader, 2, 14, 1923, p. 20 Google Scholar

Pelling, Geography, pp. 48 and 425 Google Scholar

G. Stedman Jones, ‘Working-class culture and working-class politics in London, 1870-1900: Notes on the remaking of a working class’, in G. Stedman Jones, Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class History 1832-1982, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983, p. 213 Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class History 1832-1982 213 Google Scholar

K. and J. Morgan, Portrait of a Progressive: The Political Career of Christopher, Viscount Addison, Oxford, Clarendon, 1980, p. 10. See also S. Pennybacker, ‘"The millenium by return of post": Reconsidering London Progressivism, 1889-1907’, in Feldman and Stedman Jones (eds), Metropolis, pp. 143-4, for her general support of this claim Portrait of a Progressive: The Political Career of Christopher, Viscount Addison 10 Google Scholar

See The Times, 19 November 1884 on Hammersmith; Weekly News and Chronicle, 17 September 1892 on St Luke's Google Scholar

C. Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London, Second Series, Vol. 3, London, Macmillan, 1902, p. 270 Life and Labour of the People in London 3 270 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 29 October 1892 Google Scholar

See, as examples, The Times, 22 November 1884; 23 October 1888; 3 December 1889; 18 September 1895: 12 December, 1898; Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 10 June 1892; Weekly News and Chronicle, 17 September 1892 Google Scholar

Royal Commission on London Traffic, P. P. 1906 XLI, Appendix No. 13, p. 330; and see S. Ruck, ‘The Street Trading Community’ in H. Llewellyn Smith, The New Survey of London Life and Labour: Vol. III, Survey of Social Conditions (1) The Eastern Area, London, P. S. King & Son, 1932, pp. 320-8 Google Scholar

See evidence of Benjamin Davis, q. 19934, and Henry Blake, q. 7696, Royal Commission on Alien Immigration, P. P. 1903 IX. Some of the London unions in 1903 included Whitechapel, Battersea, Holborn, North London, South London, Hoxton, Limehouse, Fulham, Clerkenwell and Southwark. Other unions formed soon after included those in the City, Dalston, Woolwich and Walthamstow Google Scholar

See evidence of John Lyons, Chairman of the Whitechapel union, q. 19883, ibid., and an indication in The Times, 26 November 1918, that the union had doubled in size by the First World War; see also draft open letter (election leaflet) on Addison's work, written by William Shepperley, Union of City Hawkers, dated 24 November 1910 in Addison papers, Box 80, File ‘Costermongers 1910’, Bodleian Library, Oxford, and undated cutting from News of the World, attached to a letter from Shepperley to Addison, dated 21 July 1910, in same file Google Scholar

R. Samuel, East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981, p. 262 East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding 262 Google Scholar

Daily News, 17 January 1906 Google Scholar

The Times, 25 July 1911 Google Scholar

Eastern Argus and Borough of Hackney Times, 29 July 1911 Google Scholar

See ‘Petition on behalf of the Costermongers of Hoxton who are going to be ejected from the City of London’, Addison Papers, Box 80; Weekly News and Chronicle, 1 October 1892 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Bromley Chronicle, 1 December 1910, cutting in Addison papers, Box 103 Google Scholar

See Daily Herald, 2 November 1912; Street and Market Trader, 1, 11, 1922, p. 21 Google Scholar

See Street and Market Trader, 1, 8, 1922, pp. 8-9 Google Scholar

Weekly News and Chronicle, 3 September 1892 Google Scholar

See Weekly News and Chronicle, 3 September to 1 October, 1892 Google Scholar

Labour Gazette, 3, 11, 1895, p. 352; 6, 8, 1898, p. 256; 8, 8,1900, p. 256; 12, 7, 1904, p. 223; 12, 12, 1904, p. 384; 14,5, 1906, p. 160; 19, 5, 1911, p. 196 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 11 February 1893 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 31 July 1897 Google Scholar

Mayhew, London Labour, Vol. 1, pp. 59 and 103 Google Scholar

Daily News, 2 November 1903; Royal Commission on London Traffic, P. P. 1906 XLI, Appendix No. 20, p. 382 Google Scholar

H. L. Smith and V. Nash, The Story of the Dockers Strike, Fisher Unwin, 1890, p. 42 The Story of the Dockers Strike 42 Google Scholar

See, for example, J. A. Schmiechen, Sweated Industries and Sweated Labor: The London Clothing Trades, 1860-1914, London, Croom Helm, 1984; G. Stedman Jones, Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship between Classes in Victorian Society, London, Penguin, 1976, Part I Sweated Industries and Sweated Labor: The London Clothing Trades, 1860-1914 Google Scholar

See evidence of James Sexton, General Secretary of the National Union of Dock Labourers in Great Britain and Ireland, Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and the Relief of Distress, P. P. 1910 XLVIII, qq. 84337-9; N. Dearle, Problems of Unemployment in the Building Trades, London, Dent & Co., 1908, p. 87; Stedman Jones, Outcast, p. 82; East London Advertiser, 6 September 1890; R. Free, Seven Years Hard, London, Heinemann, 1904, p. 168; leaflet headed ‘Dr Addison and the Mail Drivers: Extract from the "Star", June 24th, 1910’; Addison Papers, Box 103, File 56.1; B. Dix and S. Williams, Serving the public, building the union, the history of the National Union of Public Employees. Volume One: The Forerunners 1889-1928, London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1987, pp. 40-1; Select Committee on the Sweating System, P. P.1888 XX, qq. 2203 and 3404-05 and XXI qq. 16683-4; Labour Elector, 14 September 1889. For a further discussion of this see M. W. Brodie, ‘"Politics Stirs Them Very Little": Conservatism and "Apathy" in the East End of London, 1885-1914’, DPhil, University of Oxford, 1999, ch. 4 Google Scholar

Select Committee on the Sweating System, P. P. 1888 XXI, q. 13240 Google Scholar

Smith and Nash, Story, p. 50 and see p. 54 Google Scholar

Labour Elector, 17 August 1889; 14 December 1889 Google Scholar

P. Joyce, Visions of the People: Industrial England and the question of class, 1848-1914, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 119; P. Joyce, Work, Society and Politics: The culture of the factory in later Victorian England, Aldershot, Gregg Revivals, 1991, p. 100 Visions of the People: Industrial England and the question of class, 1848-1914 119 Google Scholar

Free, Seven, pp. 168-9 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 21 September 1889 Google Scholar

See J. Garrard, The English and Immigration 1880-1910, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1971, for anti-immigration in this period The English and Immigration 1880-1910 Google Scholar

J. Davis, ‘Radical clubs and London politics, 1870-1900’, in Feldman and Stedman Jones (eds), Metropolis, esp. pp. 116-7 Google Scholar

The Times, 2 January 1906 Google Scholar

Daily Mail, 11 January 1906 Google Scholar

Standard, 27 September 1900 Google Scholar

Samuel, East End, p. 262 Google Scholar

Judgements on Election Petitions — St George's Division of Tower Hamlets, P. P. 1896 LXVII, pp. 464-5 Google Scholar

Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 22 June 1892 Google Scholar

Samuel, East End, p. 262 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Mayhew, London Labour, Vol. 1, p. 20 Google Scholar

T. Wright, The Pinch of Poverty, London, Isbister & Co., 1892, p. 79 The Pinch of Poverty 79 Google Scholar

Daily Chronicle, 25 November 1910, cutting in Addison Papers, Box 103, File 56.1 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

See Street and Market Trader, 1, 4, 1922, p. 9; HWB, ‘The Alien Coster’, Pall Mall Gazette, 24 March 1902 Google Scholar

R. C. on Alien Immigration, P. P. 1903 IX, q. 19996 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Walworth was a good example. See South London Press, 20 July 1895; Standard, 5 October 1900; Daily News, 15 January 1906 Google Scholar

Weekly News and Chronicle, 3 September 1892; The Times, 3 December 1889; Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 22 June 1892; East London Advertiser, 10 September 1892 Google Scholar

The Times, 26 November 1918 Google Scholar

See, for example, the article by James Greenwood in Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 27 June 1892 Google Scholar

Daily News, 8 January 1910 Google Scholar

Camberwell and Peckham Times, 17 October 1885 Google Scholar

The Times, 12 January 1886 Google Scholar

J. Lawrence, ‘Class and Gender in the Making of Urban Toryism, 1880-1914’, English Historical Review, 108, 428, 1993, pp. 640-1 ‘Class and Gender in the Making of Urban Toryism, 1880-1914’ English Historical Review 108 640 1 Google Scholar

C. E. B. Russell and E. T. Campagnac, ‘The Organization of Costermongers and Street-vendors in Manchester’, Economic Review, 10, 1900, p. 188 ‘The Organization of Costermongers and Street-vendors in Manchester’ Economic Review 10 188 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

H. Pelling, Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910, London, Macmillan, 1967, p. 425 Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910 425 Google Scholar

P. Thompson, Socialists, Liberals and Labour: The Struggle for London 1885-1914, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967, p. 87 Socialists, Liberals and Labour: The Struggle for London 1885-1914 87 Google Scholar

P. F. Brooks, The Pearly Kings and Queens, Chichester, Barry Rose, 1975, p. 5. See S. Williams, ‘Religious belief and popular culture: a study of the South London borough of Southwark c. 1880-1939’, DPhil, University of Oxford, 1993, p. 99 and her ‘Urban Popular Religion and the Rites of Passage’, in H. McLeod (ed.), European Religion in the Age of the Great Cities 1830-1930, 1995, London, Routledge, pp. 231-2 The Pearly Kings and Queens 5 Google Scholar

H. Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, Vol. I, New York, Dover, 1968, first published 1861, p. 6 London Labour and the London Poor I 6 Google Scholar

G. Stedman Jones, ‘The "cockney" and the nation, 1780-1988’, in D. Feldman and G. Stedman Jones (eds), Metropolis London: Histories and Representations since 1800, London, Routledge, 1989, esp. pp. 294-300 Metropolis London: Histories and Representations since 1800 294 300 Google Scholar

R. I. McKibbin, ‘Why was there no Marxism in Great Britain?’ in R. I. McKibbin, The Ideologies of Class: Social Relations in Britain 1880-1950, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 4. While McKibbin refers in this passage also to other workers in the ‘service sector’, it is clear from the references he provides that this argument comes essentially from images of the costers The Ideologies of Class: Social Relations in Britain 1880-1950 4 Google Scholar

Thompson, Socialists, p. 87; and see Pelling, Geography, pp. 53 and 425 Google Scholar

East London Observer, 9 March, 1901; and see Thompson, Socialists, p. 87 fn. 1 Google Scholar

East London Observer, 16 March 1901 Google Scholar

See letter from Benjamin Davis, Jewish Chronicle, 29 March 1895 Google Scholar

Daily News, 28 September 1900; 1 October 1900 Google Scholar

Street and Market Trader, 2, 14, 1923, p. 20 Google Scholar

Pelling, Geography, pp. 48 and 425 Google Scholar

G. Stedman Jones, ‘Working-class culture and working-class politics in London, 1870-1900: Notes on the remaking of a working class’, in G. Stedman Jones, Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class History 1832-1982, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983, p. 213 Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class History 1832-1982 213 Google Scholar

K. and J. Morgan, Portrait of a Progressive: The Political Career of Christopher, Viscount Addison, Oxford, Clarendon, 1980, p. 10. See also S. Pennybacker, ‘"The millenium by return of post": Reconsidering London Progressivism, 1889-1907’, in Feldman and Stedman Jones (eds), Metropolis, pp. 143-4, for her general support of this claim Portrait of a Progressive: The Political Career of Christopher, Viscount Addison 10 Google Scholar

See The Times, 19 November 1884 on Hammersmith; Weekly News and Chronicle, 17 September 1892 on St Luke's Google Scholar

C. Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London, Second Series, Vol. 3, London, Macmillan, 1902, p. 270 Life and Labour of the People in London 3 270 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 29 October 1892 Google Scholar

See, as examples, The Times, 22 November 1884; 23 October 1888; 3 December 1889; 18 September 1895: 12 December, 1898; Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 10 June 1892; Weekly News and Chronicle, 17 September 1892 Google Scholar

Royal Commission on London Traffic, P. P. 1906 XLI, Appendix No. 13, p. 330; and see S. Ruck, ‘The Street Trading Community’ in H. Llewellyn Smith, The New Survey of London Life and Labour: Vol. III, Survey of Social Conditions (1) The Eastern Area, London, P. S. King & Son, 1932, pp. 320-8 Google Scholar

See evidence of Benjamin Davis, q. 19934, and Henry Blake, q. 7696, Royal Commission on Alien Immigration, P. P. 1903 IX. Some of the London unions in 1903 included Whitechapel, Battersea, Holborn, North London, South London, Hoxton, Limehouse, Fulham, Clerkenwell and Southwark. Other unions formed soon after included those in the City, Dalston, Woolwich and Walthamstow Google Scholar

See evidence of John Lyons, Chairman of the Whitechapel union, q. 19883, ibid., and an indication in The Times, 26 November 1918, that the union had doubled in size by the First World War; see also draft open letter (election leaflet) on Addison's work, written by William Shepperley, Union of City Hawkers, dated 24 November 1910 in Addison papers, Box 80, File ‘Costermongers 1910’, Bodleian Library, Oxford, and undated cutting from News of the World, attached to a letter from Shepperley to Addison, dated 21 July 1910, in same file Google Scholar

R. Samuel, East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981, p. 262 East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding 262 Google Scholar

Daily News, 17 January 1906 Google Scholar

The Times, 25 July 1911 Google Scholar

Eastern Argus and Borough of Hackney Times, 29 July 1911 Google Scholar

See ‘Petition on behalf of the Costermongers of Hoxton who are going to be ejected from the City of London’, Addison Papers, Box 80; Weekly News and Chronicle, 1 October 1892 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Bromley Chronicle, 1 December 1910, cutting in Addison papers, Box 103 Google Scholar

See Daily Herald, 2 November 1912; Street and Market Trader, 1, 11, 1922, p. 21 Google Scholar

See Street and Market Trader, 1, 8, 1922, pp. 8-9 Google Scholar

Weekly News and Chronicle, 3 September 1892 Google Scholar

See Weekly News and Chronicle, 3 September to 1 October, 1892 Google Scholar

Labour Gazette, 3, 11, 1895, p. 352; 6, 8, 1898, p. 256; 8, 8,1900, p. 256; 12, 7, 1904, p. 223; 12, 12, 1904, p. 384; 14,5, 1906, p. 160; 19, 5, 1911, p. 196 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 11 February 1893 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 31 July 1897 Google Scholar

Mayhew, London Labour, Vol. 1, pp. 59 and 103 Google Scholar

Daily News, 2 November 1903; Royal Commission on London Traffic, P. P. 1906 XLI, Appendix No. 20, p. 382 Google Scholar

H. L. Smith and V. Nash, The Story of the Dockers Strike, Fisher Unwin, 1890, p. 42 The Story of the Dockers Strike 42 Google Scholar

See, for example, J. A. Schmiechen, Sweated Industries and Sweated Labor: The London Clothing Trades, 1860-1914, London, Croom Helm, 1984; G. Stedman Jones, Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship between Classes in Victorian Society, London, Penguin, 1976, Part I Sweated Industries and Sweated Labor: The London Clothing Trades, 1860-1914 Google Scholar

See evidence of James Sexton, General Secretary of the National Union of Dock Labourers in Great Britain and Ireland, Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and the Relief of Distress, P. P. 1910 XLVIII, qq. 84337-9; N. Dearle, Problems of Unemployment in the Building Trades, London, Dent & Co., 1908, p. 87; Stedman Jones, Outcast, p. 82; East London Advertiser, 6 September 1890; R. Free, Seven Years Hard, London, Heinemann, 1904, p. 168; leaflet headed ‘Dr Addison and the Mail Drivers: Extract from the "Star", June 24th, 1910’; Addison Papers, Box 103, File 56.1; B. Dix and S. Williams, Serving the public, building the union, the history of the National Union of Public Employees. Volume One: The Forerunners 1889-1928, London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1987, pp. 40-1; Select Committee on the Sweating System, P. P.1888 XX, qq. 2203 and 3404-05 and XXI qq. 16683-4; Labour Elector, 14 September 1889. For a further discussion of this see M. W. Brodie, ‘"Politics Stirs Them Very Little": Conservatism and "Apathy" in the East End of London, 1885-1914’, DPhil, University of Oxford, 1999, ch. 4 Google Scholar

Select Committee on the Sweating System, P. P. 1888 XXI, q. 13240 Google Scholar

Smith and Nash, Story, p. 50 and see p. 54 Google Scholar

Labour Elector, 17 August 1889; 14 December 1889 Google Scholar

P. Joyce, Visions of the People: Industrial England and the question of class, 1848-1914, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 119; P. Joyce, Work, Society and Politics: The culture of the factory in later Victorian England, Aldershot, Gregg Revivals, 1991, p. 100 Visions of the People: Industrial England and the question of class, 1848-1914 119 Google Scholar

Free, Seven, pp. 168-9 Google Scholar

East London Advertiser, 21 September 1889 Google Scholar

See J. Garrard, The English and Immigration 1880-1910, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1971, for anti-immigration in this period The English and Immigration 1880-1910 Google Scholar

J. Davis, ‘Radical clubs and London politics, 1870-1900’, in Feldman and Stedman Jones (eds), Metropolis, esp. pp. 116-7 Google Scholar

The Times, 2 January 1906 Google Scholar

Daily Mail, 11 January 1906 Google Scholar

Standard, 27 September 1900 Google Scholar

Samuel, East End, p. 262 Google Scholar

Judgements on Election Petitions — St George's Division of Tower Hamlets, P. P. 1896 LXVII, pp. 464-5 Google Scholar

Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 22 June 1892 Google Scholar

Samuel, East End, p. 262 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Mayhew, London Labour, Vol. 1, p. 20 Google Scholar

T. Wright, The Pinch of Poverty, London, Isbister & Co., 1892, p. 79 The Pinch of Poverty 79 Google Scholar

Daily Chronicle, 25 November 1910, cutting in Addison Papers, Box 103, File 56.1 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

See Street and Market Trader, 1, 4, 1922, p. 9; HWB, ‘The Alien Coster’, Pall Mall Gazette, 24 March 1902 Google Scholar

R. C. on Alien Immigration, P. P. 1903 IX, q. 19996 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Walworth was a good example. See South London Press, 20 July 1895; Standard, 5 October 1900; Daily News, 15 January 1906 Google Scholar

Weekly News and Chronicle, 3 September 1892; The Times, 3 December 1889; Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 22 June 1892; East London Advertiser, 10 September 1892 Google Scholar

The Times, 26 November 1918 Google Scholar

See, for example, the article by James Greenwood in Hackney and Kingsland Gazette, 27 June 1892 Google Scholar

Daily News, 8 January 1910 Google Scholar

Camberwell and Peckham Times, 17 October 1885 Google Scholar

The Times, 12 January 1886 Google Scholar

J. Lawrence, ‘Class and Gender in the Making of Urban Toryism, 1880-1914’, English Historical Review, 108, 428, 1993, pp. 640-1 ‘Class and Gender in the Making of Urban Toryism, 1880-1914’ English Historical Review 108 640 1 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Brodie, Marc