Miss Rose Lyons, born in Holborn

Dave Hill writes on his website, Stories of London:

“When I was a child the sounds of a flower seller could be heard weekly during the introduction of the BBC Radio Programme, In Town Tonight. She could just be heard amidst the sound of London’s traffic calling to passers-by to buy some violets, luv’ly vi-lets.

The theme of the BBC Radio Programme, In Town Tonight, was written by Eric Coates and called Knightsbridge March

At this time, those living in London, like me, were still able to see women selling flowers from the wicker baskets that they carried in various parts of the West End. Some were sat in front of impressive buildings that were adorned with lights and beautiful statues; others sat on the steps at the foot of fountains or monuments; while others walked through the streets or waited outside the more notable and exclusive restaurants from the light of day until dusk.

During the Edwardian and Victorian era, gentle ladies would be offered a nosegay or posie to adorn their elegant evening wear by the gentlemen accompanying them to dine or to the theatre…

Flower sellers could be of a variety of ages. However they have been mostly portrayed in plays and films as older and slightly overweight women with poorly kept hair hurriedly pushed under a hat and dressed in a long skirt and wrapped in a shawl. This is how I remember those that I used to see. I saw them in a very romantic way and assumed that they were all kindly ladies with good hearts and with constant smiles on their faces. To be honest, my ideal flower seller would be someone akin to the old lady shown sitting on the steps of a stylised St. Paul’s Cathedral asking people to feed the birds, as sung in Mary Poppins. Yes, I know that this old lady was selling seed and not flowers, but nonetheless, she was everything I would wish a flower seller to be…

Mr. Alan Aldridge has kindly sent me a photograph from ca 1917 of his Great Grandmother, Mrs. Rose Aldridge who was a London Flower Seller and of her Certificate allowing her that right.

Miss Rose Lyons was born in Holborn and married Mr. Henry Aldridge in 1901 and lived on Field Place, just off The Angel, Islington. Mr. Aldridge says that his Great Grandmother worked most of her life and died 1950s.”

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