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    Selling food in the streets of London, c. 1600-1750

    Taverner, Charles (2020) Selling food in the streets of London, c. 1600-1750. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis considers the women and men who sold food in the streets, outside markets and shops, in London between 1600 and 1750. Previous research has focused on hawking as a crime, the poverty of street sellers, and their representation in contemporary culture. Instead, this thesis combines social, cultural and economic history in a fuller study of the work of street vending. The first four chapters are based on analysis of a database of street-selling individuals and incidents, compiled from incidental archival descriptions, such as witness statements, and local and citywide records of regulation. Having established the importance of street sellers to the early modern capital, the last two chapters reassess the better-known evidence, the records of civic authorities and the genre of prints, music and ballads known as the Cries. The thesis shows that food hawkers were diverse Londoners who often ran sophisticated, substantial businesses. Their work was integral to a dynamic, regional food system and supplied a broad range of customers with perishable foods and small luxuries. Hawking food was a skilled form of retailing, carried out in a busy street environment, and helped shape the space of the street. London’s different authorities were largely tolerant of street vending and typically took action when certain hawkers caused nuisances and disorder. The Cries should be appreciated as a multimedia genre, which subverted formal conventions and satirised Londoners of all sorts. This thesis makes particular contributions to our knowledge of the working poor, everyday commerce, and the economy and culture of food in early modern England. It also proposes that urban historians should give greater attention to the metropolitan working poor, suburban life, and work outside formal trades. Street sellers make us reflect on what we mean by terms such as ‘street’, ‘city’ and ‘economy’.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: This thesis is not currently available for public use. Date of PhD award confirmed as 2020 by registry
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2020 10:59
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:19


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