The working people of London in the 1840s. Mayhew documented street life in articles for the Morning Chronicle. Costermongers or street traders, prostitutes, mudlarks, sweatshop workers, Punch and Judy men, pure-finders (who gathered faeces to sell to tanners), photographers, labourers, beggars, rat catchers, recyclers, sewer-hunters, flower-sellers, street authors, all manner of enterprise and survival found its way into his oral histories. Mayhew's work references earlier habits than those current in the 1840s. He references the 'saloop' shops, stalls vending drink made from the powder of the red-handed orchids from India which were replaced by the modern coffee stalls. The street diet of 'hot shee'ps foot', 'pepper and saffron' and 'hot peascod' are part of the oral history of the obsolete cries of the costermongers.
Selections form the basis of a live studio improvisation by Jude Cowan Montague. Part of a mini creative series for 'The News Agents' output based on early journalism and documentary.