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The Coster Boy and Girl Tossing the pieman

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The Coster Boy and Girl Tossing the pieman
The itinerant trade in pies is one of the most ancient of the street callings of London. The meat pies are made of beef or mutton; the fish pies of eels; the fruit of apples, currants, gooseberries, plums, damsons, cherries, raspberries, or rhubarb, according to the season—and occasionally of mince-meat. A few years ago the street pie-trade was very profitable, but it has been almost destroyed by the “pie-shops,” and further, the few remaining street-dealers say “the people now haven’t the pennies to spare.” Summer fairs and races are the best places for the piemen.

To “toss the pieman” is a favourite pastime with costermongers boys and all that class; some of whom aspire to the repute of being gourmands, and are critical on the quality of the comestible. If the pieman win the toss, he receives 1d. without giving a pie; if he lose, he hands it over for nothing.

London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew - Published 1851 - Available from books.google.com
London, Street Seller