13th december 2006
saloop revisited once more

from the proceedings of the Old Bailey, July 1783:

William Miller the elder, sworn.

Miller. My business is to sell saloop in Moorfields, I heard a cry of Stop thief! I cast my eyes about to see from whence it came, and I saw a man running, and another came close by me, and I said, my son, stop them.

Court. What time in the morning?

Miller. About four or five o'clock, it was was a joke, it was fun, but I would not be funned that way, he would have avoided the matter if they could, but I said, stop them right or wrong; Cooper and my son run about one hundred yards, before they took the prisoner, then they got him in possession; I must say the prisoner behaved very genteel.

Court. Where did your saloop barrow stand?

Miller. In what we call Middle Moorfields, at the extremity of Lower Moorfields, and just at the edge of Upper Moorfields, from which I could see into Moorfields, and down Brokers-row; after they got the prisoner in possession about a minute or two, I saw another man run past me, and he run up with a pistol, and rescued the prisoner out of their hands.

Court. Then they had stopped the prisoner before that other man passed you?

Miller. Yes.

Prisoner's Counsel. Where do you sit friend, with your saloop?

It is facing Bedlam, between the two mad houses, but I bless God, I have got my senses yet, there are a many cribby islands and places thereabouts, where people that do dark actions love to go into.

Cribby islands are rookeries or blocks of slums: there was a famous one just north of the Strand which was first named The Bermudas after the discovery of Bermuda by Sir George Somers, then rechristened The Caribbees, and then the name shortened to The Cribbys before becoming a generic term.