The Cries of London series of Carolers draw their inspiration from the various peddlers and street merchants of Victorian London, often referred to as “Criers” or “Cries.” Throughout the Victorian Era (and in fact going back as early as the 14th and 15th centuries), criers were not at all an uncommon sight on the streets of London. Every day members of the lower classes would walk the streets selling their wares to passersby, which changed with the season. Many sold foodstuffs—fresh caught fish and meat (even cat and dog meat!) and vegetables—while others sold handcrafts and manufactured goods. Pens and ink, shovels and rakes, dolls and sheet music were all at one point or another sold on the streets of London, just to name a few. It was often said that anything that could be carried had been, at one point or another, peddled by a crier of London.
“Sweet primroses, four bunches a penny, primroses!” Each crier had their own cry, touting whatever they were selling on a particular day. Up and down the street, cry mixed with cry—“Black and white heart cherries, two pence a pound!” “Old chairs to mend, old chairs to mend!”—until one could hardly tell one from the other for the clamor the sellers put on.