Recently in my searches around the internet, I have discovered some great moment caught in time.  Tiny fragments of the history of busking in the UK scene.

First, an Instagram user, by the name of Martin Bridle uploaded a couple of old post card photos to his page:

busker history in uk the busking project
“1930s. Living #marionette otherwise known as humanette on Bognor Regis” | An escapist in London, also 1930’s

Secondly, Dr Paul Simpson has done a talk called:

The History of Street Performance: ‘Music by handle’ and the Silencing of Street Musicians in the Metropolis

Above you can find his paper and his lecture notes and an hour long talk speaking about this history of street performance in London. It dates from the Renaissance period until the early 1900’s.

You can watch it at the link above or right here:

And Lastly,

I emailed Dr Simpson, excited about these historical finds, asking him about a reference he made where Charles Darwin criticizes street performers, or more specifically, Organ Grinders. Dr. Simpson told me that recent copyright statues are up on the book written on street music in the late 1800’s. I have only just glanced at this, but it includes letters written to the Queen from the likes of Charles Dickens, written in 1864 many signed with “your obedient servant”

The whole book can be found here:

I hope you are geeky enough to enjoy this as much as I do! Happy History Hunting!