Victorian London - Professions and Trades - Service Industry - Ballad Sellers

     I walked up to the New Road, and had a long talk with the old ballad seller opposite S. Pancras church. A very respectable intelligent man, of some education: said he had been there twenty years and brought up a family of nine children on the proceeds of his stall. The trade, he said, was never so good as now: the public concert rooms have created a large demand for popular songs of the day, and the old fashioned ballads sell well too. Has customers of all classes, but mostly young men, shopmen and artisans, who buy comic songs, tradesmen's daughters, who buy sentimental parlour ditties, and servantmaids. These when they first come to London buy the old ballads they've heard at home in the country; but afterwards they choose rather the songs—from English operas and so on—which they hear young missis a playing upstairs.

Arthur Munby Diary 19th July 1861