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  • #16
    Hi,

    The costermonger got his name originally because they sold Costard apples and it was a very respectable trade. It widened out after that to take in all seasonal fruit, then to other commodities, but they were always more respected than most other street vendors if they had their own barrow. It was quite an exclusive 'club'. If Joe Fleming was a coster, then he needn't necessarily have been a low-life, simply because he was a coster!

    The bloke in that Wikipedia obviously got stitched up by a coster at some time and had it in for them a bit! Having said that he was right about dispensing their own justice.

    On the lowest rung of the ladder was the poor sod that had to sell from a basket or a handcart. You didn't get much lower than someone selling oranges from a basket. They were treated with considerable disdain by proper costers, and poor old Joe Barnett probably fell into that category. At best he would have worked for someone that did own his own barrow. It would have been a considerable come down after his job in Billingsgate where the wages were well above average.

    The average working wage for a man in 1888 (casual labourer) was 1 11s 8d - as a Billingsgate porter Joe would have earnt a fair bit more than that. Paley suggests a ridiculously high figure (I think it was 3?). Although that's not at all likely, he would have been on a good screw. He'd be lucky if he earnt 6 bob a week as an orange seller, so he must have felt a certain amount of degradation going from one to the other. I don't think Mary would have been too happy about it either! If Joe Fleming was a proper coster, he might well have been a much better bet that Joe Barnett after Joe lost his job.


    Hugs

    Janie

    xxx
    Last edited by Jane Coram; 03-16-2011, 06:21 PM.
    I'm not afraid of heights, swimming or love - just falling, drowning and rejection.

    Comment


    • #17
      Fleming, at 6'7" could have reached over Barnett to sell produce. He would have been too big to be a groom though. Thanks goodness there was ol' Toppy to take care of horses. I wonder if they all knew each other?

      Mike
      huh?

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Jane Coram View Post
        Hi,

        The costermonger got his name originally because they sold Costard apples and it was a very respectable trade. It widened out after that to take in all seasonal fruit, then to other commodities, but they were always more respected than most other street vendors if they had their own barrow. It was quite an exclusive 'club'. If Joe Fleming was a coster, then he needn't necessarily have been a low-life, simply because he was a coster!

        The bloke in that Wikipedia obviously got stitched up by a coster at some time and had it in for them a bit! Having said that he was right about dispensing their own justice.

        On the lowest rung of the ladder was the poor sod that had to sell from a basket or a handcart. You didn't get much lower than someone selling oranges from a basket. They were treated with considerable disdain by proper costers, and poor old Joe Barnett probably fell into that category. At best he would have worked for someone that did own his own barrow. It would have been a considerable come down after his job in Billingsgate where the wages were well above average.

        The average working wage for a man in 1888 (casual labourer) was 1 11s 8d - as a Billingsgate porter Joe would have earnt a fair bit more than that. Paley suggests a ridiculously high figure (I think it was 3?). Although that's not at all likely, he would have been on a good screw. He'd be lucky if he earnt 6 bob a week as an orange seller, so he must have felt a certain amount of degradation going from one to the other. I don't think Mary would have been too happy about it either! If Joe Fleming was a proper coster, he might well have been a much better bet that Joe Barnett after Joe lost his job.


        Hugs

        Janie

        xxx
        Hi Jane,

        interesting, thanks !

        Comment


        • #19
          Hi,

          Slight correction on the above post. I inadvertantly gave the labourers a pay rise. Lol.

          The average wage of labourers living in St. George's-in-the-East in 1887 was 21s. 2d. per week - that is 1, 1s, 2d.

          1. 11s 8d was the average wage for someone in an established trade and they would have been considered a top earner. This even applies to plasterers and plumbers - possibly even grooms.

          Hugs

          Janie

          xxxx
          Last edited by Jane Coram; 03-16-2011, 09:17 PM.
          I'm not afraid of heights, swimming or love - just falling, drowning and rejection.

          Comment


          • #20
            costers

            Also costers were famous for their quick witttedness and repartee. [ they developed rhymning slang ]The best were sharp business men, running market stalls.The pearly Kings and Queens were costers, they were proud of the coster heritage. The costers wore colourful scarfs and waistcoats and caps.
            The descendents of quick witted cockney costers are probably working in the city. Alan Sugar started on a market stall.
            Miss Marple

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            • #21
              re: Grooms In the City

              Originally posted by DVV View Post
              I'm sure God has created UFOs to entertain ghosts.


              Originally posted by The Good Michael View Post
              Fleming, at 6'7" could have reached over Barnett to sell produce. He would have been too big to be a groom though.
              Hi Mike. Fleming would have been a giant, that's for sure!

              A groom in the city would probably have been caring for some type of carriage-horses or other driving-horses such as cart-horses, livery-stable horses, or hansom-cab horses rather than riding-horses. I doubt the average city groom would have necessarily needed to know how to ride a horse or have had any opportunity to do so. Feeding, watering, grooming (brushing & cleaning) and harnessing would have been the primary skills. And maybe not getting stepped on, that's a good skill too (I have 2 horses, so I speak from experience. )

              A Head Groom at a larger establishment might exercise riding-horses or accompany a lady on a ride in the park, but that would have been a job requiring more specialized skills and experience.

              Janie, what does "on a good screw mean?" I think that was the phrase. Does it mean "on to a good job?"

              I came across some interesting coster-slang that I'll try to post on the LVP Vocabulary thread.

              Thanks,
              Archaic

              Comment


              • #22
                Afterthought:

                Obviously a lot of 'ifs' and 'buts' here but . . .

                A great deal would depend on what sort of costermonger Fleming was (if indeed he was a costermonger). The term covers a very wide range of possibilities. If he had previously had another occupation, then it's probably more likely that he was simply working for another established costermonger, rather than being a 'genetic' costermonger, rather like Joe Barnett who was still technically a costermonger on the lower end of the scale.

                Although the quote about costers being the dregs of society was obviously very biased, it was actually not far from the truth in some ways. They weren't (and still aren't) the sort of people you mess around with. I was bought up the markets and they aren't exactly Dick Van Dyke or Tommy Steel clones doing the hokey cokey and eating jellied eels all day.

                The old established coster families had a fierce clan mentality, which still carries on today in some of the older East End families. They protected their own, and they could exact fairly unpleasant vengeance on anyone that upset them. The Krays' grandad had a stall not far along from my grandads, which gives you an idea that some of the old coster families weren't the sort you crossed. So, it is very fair to say that costers could be and still can be a pretty rough lot when the mood takes them.

                For what's it's worth - to me, the evidence suggests that Mary did know Fleming very well, and that he was still seeing her when she was with the other Joe. Mary said that Barnett had been good to her, but she would have to leave him, which suggests that once the money wasn't coming in she couldn't stay with him, even if she had wanted to (probably all tied in with him not wanting her to take up prostitution again). I also think that it's a reasonable bet that Fleming did ill-use Mary, but women often prefer a bit of rough to someone that is safe bet, keeps their socks on and the lights out.

                I'm not sure whether that makes Fleming any more or less likely to be a scumbag, but if he was any kind of coster, it's unlikely that he was a delicate flower.

                Hugs

                Janie

                xxxx
                I'm not afraid of heights, swimming or love - just falling, drowning and rejection.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Hi Archaic,

                  'On a good screw' simply means 'earning a good wage'.

                  Actually, I haven't got a clue where that comes from.

                  Hugs

                  Janie

                  xxxx
                  I'm not afraid of heights, swimming or love - just falling, drowning and rejection.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    .

                    Yes, it is days later, but I got a huge LOL over a "Joe-off"....

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Jane Coram View Post
                      A great deal would depend on what sort of costermonger Fleming was (if indeed he was a costermonger). The term covers a very wide range of possibilities. If he had previously had another occupation, then it's probably more likely that he was simply working for another established costermonger, rather than being a 'genetic' costermonger, rather like Joe Barnett who was still technically a costermonger on the lower end of the scale.

                      xxxx
                      Hi Janie, agreed.

                      Initially a plasterer (and a young burglar), it seems that Fleming, once in Whitechapel, survived on casual jobs. Costermonger (maybe), dock-labourer...
                      Rather a rough character.

                      Amista
                      David

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by The Good Michael View Post
                        Fleming, at 6'7"
                        Mike
                        Nah, Mike, 6'7" is most certainly a mistake.

                        He was most probably 7'6".

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