An Old Clothes Shop, Seven Dials

Street Life in London

An Old Clothes Shop, Seven Dials


John Thomson

(Scottish, 1837-1921)


Image: 11.5 x 9 cm (4 1/2 x 3 9/16 in.); Paper: 11.5 x 9 cm (4 1/2 x 3 9/16 in.); Mounted: 27.1 x 20.8 cm (10 11/16 x 8 3/16 in.)

Photography Discretionary Fund 2019.51


Did you know?

When this photo was taken, Seven Dials, a London neighborhood linking Covent Garden to Soho, was a slum that housed shops that bought and sold used clothing and furniture.


According to John Thomson’s collaborator, journalist Adolphe Smith, the dealers in this neighborhood were sources of last resort for those trying to sell items that had already been rejected by pawnbrokers. They were also where “the majority of those individuals who earn a promiscuous livelihood in the streets of London succeed in clothing themselves for a minimum outlay.”

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