- "To His Rile Highness the Prince of Nails and His Imperial Majesty the Emperor and His Wench. Harris, well known to everybody to be the only Genuine Clothing Manufacturer in Whitechapel, and acknowledged by the Natives to be the Cheapest and Best House in the Neighbourhood for Cord and Cloth Clothing of every description."
This copy of an original flyer arrived at the offices of the society with no sender's details just a short handwritten note telling us it was from a day book found in Switzerland!
The Encyclopedia of Ephemera lists this type of publicity under "Eccentric Advertising" and says about this particular piece:
... Harris, a Whitechapel clothier and trousers-maker, addresses the public in his trade vernacular, regardless of its obscurity. Describing himself as a 'Slap up tog and out-and-out kicksies builder', he offers 'Upper Benjamins, built on a Downy plan, ... Fancy Sleeve Blue Plush, Pilot or Box-Cloth Vests, cut saucy, ... Kerseymere or Fancy Doeskin Kicksies, any colour, cut peg-top', and a 'Pair of Moleskins, any colour, built hanky spanky, with a double fakemin down the sides and artful buttons at the bottom'. He adds that he also offers 'a decent allowance ... to Seedy Swells, Tea Kettle Purgers, Quill Drivers, Mushroom Fakers, Counter Jumpers, Organ Grinders, Bruisers, Head Robbers and Flunkeys out of Collar'
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Q Can anyone offer further insight into this piece of entertaining advertising?
The text on this handbill, with some minor alterations, appeared on publicity material and newspaper advertisements for other tradesmen from the 1860s to 1890s and is a display of ingenuity in the excessive use of Cockney slang.
- "Slap-up-Tog and out-and-out Kicksies Builder": Superior coat and very excellent trouser maker
- "Mawleys": Hands
- "Ready Gilt - Tick being no go": Ready Money - Credit not given
- "Finnuff": Five pound note
- "Broady": Cloth or material