Saturday, October 3, 2020

Do you know the Muffin Man's... little bell? October 15 start of street selling

The "tinkling" of the muffin sellers' small bells commenced on the fifteenth of October until Spring. Some associated the high tone to the colder weather; a writer in 1832 disliked the sound ever since childhood. Ofcourse there were other bells - church, postman, town crier, dustman - but Parliament tried, unsuccessfully, to ban the the muffin men's bells before 1851. and chocolate? ...more at the end.

“the cheery tinkling announcing that the first batch of the year’s muffins is now on sale, makes itself heard throughout the metropolis as unanimously as the bells that declare Christmas morning". [London, 1871]

"The street-sellers of muffins and crumpets rank among the old street-tradesmen...500, during the winter months... The ringing of the muffin-man’s bell--attached to which the pleasant associations are not a few--was prohibited by a recent Act of Parliament, but the prohibition has been as inoperative as that which forbad the use of a drum to the costermonger, for the muffin bell still tinkles along the streets, and is rung vigorously in the suburbs." [Mayhew, 1851]

"The cries of London are no small nuisance to those metropolitan students who have not the happiness to be deaf. ... the tinkling of the muffin man's little bell, which has not reached the ears of the inhabitants, ere it is drowned in the still noisier tintanabulum of the dustman's bell-clapper, which never ceases." [Pyne 1827]

Dust man

"The tinkling bell of the muffin man is still, I believe, occasionally heard in the outlying suburbs; but not long ago a hawker of muffins and crumpets was summoned to a metropolitan police court..." [Sala, 1893] 

“…from my very childhood I have had a horror of the “muffin-man’s bell.  I almost doubt if he of Drury-lane, so celebrated in song, would have found favour in my sight, had he saluted my ears with the music of his tribe.  Perhaps the prejudice arises from this sound being so nearly allied to “winter and cold weather” – music and immortal verse seeming not more completely man and wife.  So much do we associate the ideas of frost and snow, with the melancholy tremulous quaver of the muffin-bell, that is seems the very music of Hypochondriacism – especially if heard when quite alone…”  [La Belle, 1832]

The Annoying Cries of London (noise) HERE and Muffin Rings, Muffin Pans and Recipes HERE, More posts on muffins HERE

City Cries of Phila: 1850 3d image
Harris, J. Cries of London: 1804 Dustman
Leigh, Felix. London Town. Ill Thomas Crane. London: 1883 1st image
Punch Dec 24, 1892 tray on head
Sandby, Paul. c1759 2d image

London Society June, 1871 
Mayhew, Henry. London Labour and the London Poor…vol 1. London: 1851
Pyne, William Henry. The World in miniature England, Scotland, and Ireland. London: 1827
"The Beauties of Bells" La Belle Assemblee. May, 1832
"The Cries of London" by George Sala in The English Illustrated Magazine. London: 1893


Since I just found out about the free samples from Mars Wrigley's American Heritage Chocolate for an Oct 27 talk at the National Archives, I am posting before the usual Monday, and keeping this post short - just about the bells. The first 500 to sign up before Oct 9 will be mailed the samples in time for the talk. //Update: The delightful chocolate came in a medium envelope just before the talk. The dark chocolate contains cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, salt and red pepper.

Oct 27 Tues 5pm The History of Chocolate and the Military. Dave Borghesani, Mars Wrigley Chocolate Historian. National Archives. HERE TAPE HERE and his History of Chocolate talk TAPE HERE

Only taped talks saved

Oct 10 Sat 1:30pm The King’s Chocolate Kitchen at Hampton Court. Marc Meltonville of Hampton Court Palace in UK. Culinary Historians of Southern California. HERE' TAPE HERE

Oct. 14 8pm Chicago's Sweet Candy History. (Chicago produced one-third of the nation's candy. -- Brach's caramels, Mars Snickers bars, Wrigley's gum, Cracker Jack…) Dr. Leslie Goddard. Cary Area Public Library IL HERE. Se 22 2022 TAPE HERE

Calendar of virtual food history talks
over 100 for October HERE

©2020 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

No comments:

Post a Comment