Neighbourhood Schools, Spitalfields Music Festival 2024

Cries of London: Neighbourhood Schools Project

Tuesday 2nd July

Part of our long-running Neighbourhood Schools programme

This is a private event

The Cries of London have echoed around London’s streets for centuries, as street traders sold their wares and enticed passers-by to come and buy whatever they might have for sale. First documented in medieval times, each street trader would have his or her distinctive cry, or recurring phrase, which eventually through repeated use, acquired a musical quality. Even in modern-day London, we can still hear market traders selling their wares with their own distinctive ‘cry’: and in extreme cases, it can lead to fame – in 2012 the One-Pound-Fish man, from Queen’s Market in Upton Park, grew so famous that he became a YouTube sensation and reached no. 4 in the UK dance charts with his ‘One Pound Fish’ cry.   

The cries and their traders have fascinated historians, writers, artists and musicians for centuries. Various artists across the ages have painted portraits of ‘The Cries of London’ and writers (including Samuel Pepys) have written about the traders.  

Alongside The Carice Singers performance of Berio’s Cries of London, and The Gentle Author’s talk through the history of the idea, we wanted to introduce some of our Neighbourhood Schools students to this fascinating topic as part of Spitalfields Music Festival 2024. Students will be producing a sound installation inspired by the modern day Cries of London, which will be on display at St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate on Tuesday 2nd July.

This project is supported by Canary Wharf Community Grants