The Last of the "Old Charlies".
Photograph. Sheet size: 90 x 60mm (3½ x 2½").
A photographic portait of Charles Rouse, the last of the London Night Watchmen who protected the Brixton Road until the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1663 the City of London began to employ paid watchmen to guard the streets at night. They were later nicknamed 'Charlies', probably after the reigning monarch, Charles II. However the pay was so poor that only men too old or decrepit to do any other work would do the job. They carried a bell, a lantern and a rattle, and were armed with a staff, but they were of little use against the thieves and robbers. 'Baiting Charlies' became a popular sport for young men.
[Ref: 37449] £90.00