Page 433. " an issue of Justice before his face "

Justice was a weekly periodical published between 1884 and 1925 by the Socialist Democratic Federation (SDF).

Page 435. " 'Tommy,' I sang - it was an old song of W.B. Fair's - 'Tommy, make room for your uncle.' "
Treble clef

W.B. Fair was chairman and master of ceremonies at the Royal Music Hall in High Holborn (which became the Royal Holborn Theatre of Varieties in 1887). He was also the proprietor of the Winchester Music Hall on Southwark Bridge Road between 1878 and 1880.

The song Tommy, make room for your uncle tells of a character Fred Jones, Hatter of Leicester Square, who is wooing Tommy's mother; the chorus went like this:

Tommy, make room for your uncle
There's a little dear.
Tommy, make room for your uncle
I want him to sit here.

As is implied in the text, there is a joke here because of the double meanings of the words Tommy (or Tom) and uncle.

Page 436. " 'It ain't the Salvation Army, you know,' "

 The Salvation Army is a Christian charitable organisation which operates on a world-wide basis. It was founded in the East End of London in 1865 by William Booth and his wife Catherine.



Page 437. " It was Towards Democracy, the poem by Edward Carpenter "

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was an English poet, socialist, philosopher and early advocate of sexual freedom and gay rights.

Towards Democracy was a lengthy prose poem in 4 parts, written between 1883 and 1902.



Page 438. " there was a piece of pussy-willow growing there "
Pussy willow
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePussy willow - Credit: Heineken, Wikimedia Commons
Pussy willow is the name given to the catkins of the willow and the sallow (trees of the genus Salix) when they are at an early stage of development.



Flowering catkin
Public DomainFlowering catkin - Credit: Ernie, Wikimedia Commons
Page 438. " Though there was a flounder for sale on a fishmonger's barrow "

A flounder is a marine flatfish found in both northern Atlantic and Pacific waters. Depending on the species, mature flounders may weigh anything between 20 pounds (9 kilos) and 600 pounds (272 kilos).

Plaice, sole and halibut are all types of flounder.


Flowery flounder (Bothus mancus)
GNU Free Documentation LicenseFlowery flounder (Bothus mancus) - Credit: Mila Zinkova, Wikimedia Commons
Page 439. " to fill Victoria Park with socialists "


Victoria Park bathing pond
Public DomainVictoria Park bathing pond - Credit: Fin Fahey, Wikimedia Commons


Victoria Park, which opened in 1845, is an open green space in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

By the end of the 19th Century, it had become an important recreational area, as well as a venue for political meetings and rallies.


Google Map
Page 440. " 'What has happened to The White Slaves of England? "

The White Slaves of England was a book by John C. Cobden, published in 1853.

Full text

In 1888 Annie Besant, the socialist activist (also referred to in bookmark, p.445), wrote an article for the halfpenny newspaper The Link entitled White Slaves in London.


Page 440. " Who has borrowed my Sidney Webb? "
Beatrice Webb (pre 1894)
Public DomainBeatrice Webb (pre 1894) - Credit: Elliott and Fry
Sidney James Webb (1859-1947) was a leading British socialist and economist; he was raised to the peerage as Baron Passfield in 1929.

He was one of the earliest members of the Fabian Society, a socialist society founded in 1884 and still in existence today.

His best-known works (co-authored with his wife Beatrice Webb) are the History of Trade Unionism (1894) and Industrial Democracy (1897).

Page 444. " Christian Scientists "

 Christian Science is a religion that was founded in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910). It is practised by members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist which was founded in 1879 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Page 444. " the colours of the SDF "
Local election pamphlet of the SDF (1896)
Public DomainLocal election pamphlet of the SDF (1896) - Credit: SDF

The Social Democratic Federation was Britain's first organised socialist political party.

It was founded by H.M. Hyndman in 1881 and counted Eleanor Marx, Edward Aveling and William Morris amongst its earliest members.

It is not clear what colours represented the SDF; red is the colour usually associated with communism and left-wing socialism.


Red flag: a symbol of communism and socialism
GNU Free Documentation LicenseRed flag: a symbol of communism and socialism - Credit: Ssolbergj, Wikimedia Commons
Page 445. " her children had toffee-apples "

La Creme Toffee Apples

Toffee apples (known as candy apples in America) are apples coated in a crisp caramel coating (often coloured red) and served skewered on sticks; their most striking feature is the texture contrast between the soft flesh of the apple and the crispness of the coating.

In Britain, they have traditionally been sold at fairs, and are often served at Bonfire Night and Halloween celebrations.

Recipe 1 for toffee apples;

Recipe 2 for toffee apples.


How to make toffee apples

Page 445. " dressed as a match-girl "

Match girls were the women and young girls who worked in factories manufacturing matchsticks (matches).

Friction matches had been invented in 1826, and matches made with white phosphorus in 1831. Unfortunately, the use of white phosporus led to the horrific health problem known as phossy jaw in workers involved in match manufacture.

In July 1888, the matchgirls of the Bryant and May factory at Bow in East London (who had organised themselves as the Matchgirls' Union with the help of the socialist activist Annie Besant) went on strike in protest about this issue and other injustices in their working conditions.

Girls who sold matches on the street were also known as match girls.

'The Lucifer Match Girl' (1861-1862)
Public Domain'The Lucifer Match Girl' (1861-1862) - Credit: Henry Mayhew
Page 445. " a packet of whelks from a stall "


Common whelks
Public DomainCommon whelks - Credit: Arnaud, Wikimedia Commons

Whelk is the common name given to various varieties of sea snails.

In Britain, it usually refers to an edible species known as Buccinum undatum, also known as the northern whelk or the common whelk.

Whelks have been, and sometimes still are sold from stalls at the seaside alongside other seafood such as cockles, mussels and prawns.

The phrase 'not fit to run a whelk stall' is sometimes used as a derogatory description of someone perceived as useless.

Follow this link to see a London whelk stall (c.1910).