Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Location, location, location!

There must have been a reason for the New Cut street market to have positioned itself where it did originally; my first piece of research will be to ascertain why the New Cut and not, say, St George's Circus, which is just as accessible,  or one of the main roads.
At this present moment, the first mention I can find of the New Cut Market, is in November 27th 1849 from the Morning Chronicle by Henry Mayhew in an article about street markets. Mayhew, who would go on to publish "London Labour and the London Poor", says about the New Cut Market : "
Of these street markets there are fifteen held throughout London every Saturday night and Sunday morning. The largest, or rather the most crowded of these, are held in that part of Lambeth called the New Cut, and in that part of Somers Town known by the name of the 'Brill'. These are both about half a mile in length, and each of them is frequented by as nearly as possible 300 hucksters. At the New Cut there were, between the hours of 8 and 10 last Saturday evening [Nov. 1849], ranged along the kerb-stone on the north side of the road, beginning at Broad Wall to the Marsh, a distance of nearly half a mile, a dense line of itinerant tradesmen - 77 of whom had vegetables for sale, 40 fruit, 25 fish, 22 boots and shoes, 14 eatables, consisting of cakes and pies, hot eels, baked potatoes, and boiled whelks; 10 dealt in nightcaps, lace, ladies' collars, artificial flowers, silk and straw bonnets; 10 in tin ware-such as saucepans,tea-kettles, and Dutch-ovens; 9 in crockery and glass; 7 in brooms and brushes; 5 in poultry and rabbits; 6 in paper, books, songs, and almanacs; 3 in baskets; 3 in toys; 3 in chickweed and water- cresses; 3 in plants and flowers; 2 in boxes, and about 50 more in sundries, such as pig's chaps, black lead, jewellery, marine stores, side combs sheep's trotters, peep-shows, and the like. The generality of these street markets are perfectly, free, any party being at liberty to stand there with his goods, and the 'pitch' or stand being secured simply by setting the wares down upon the most desirable spot that may be vacant. In order to select this, the hucksters usually arrive at the market at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and having chosen their 'pitch,' they leave the articles they have for sale in the custody of a boy until 6 o'clock, when the market begins. The class of customers at these places are mostly the wives of mechanics and labourers." - Henry Mayhew (Morning Chronicle, Nov. 27th, 1849)
  It seems in the beginning it was a weekend evening or night time market with no procedure of securing the 'pitch' other than placing the goods down and keeping watch over them; there seems to be no recourse to any payments to officials-certainly not in this article- and with nearly 300 'pitches', there must have been some money flying about. It seems similar to the Sunday market at Brick Lane, where some parts have people who just stand with open cases or throws on the ground with various bric-a-brac on.
Waterloo station had just been opened a year previous to the above article, and this may have had some influence on its position; the builders of the station and railway would have lived nearby and may well have used the market for shopping for various items.

No comments:

Post a Comment