Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Holidays - May 1st

see also George Cruikshank in the Comic Almanack - click here

Today, in Whitehall, I saw a May Day band of chimney sweepers: Jack in the Green amidst, and a King in gilt cocked hat & gilt coat, and a Queen in a black velvet jacket with spangles and a round hat and short gauze skirt, gay with ribbons, & pink stockings; and a clown, & two or three others. All danced around the 'Green', & the Queen brandished the long-handled gilt spoon in which she gathers offerings. She was a good-looking lass of 18 or so; and she danced vigorously down the street by my side, till I gave her something, not unwilling.

Arthur Munby, Diary, 5 May 1870

Thomas Crane & Ellen Houghton, London Town, 1883

see also A.R.Bennett in London and Londoners - click here