Old-clothes men: 18th and 19th centuries

I have decided to devote this paper to two aspects of the lives of old clothes men: the gathering of old clothes to the clothes exchanges, and crime. The trade in old clothes was a long-established one in England, and had existed in an organized fashion since at least the late-16th century. Poor people could not afford new clothes, principally because the cost of materials was very high, and distribution was also a problem, though a lessening one.

Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jews fleeing the Inquisition began to arrive in London in the early- to mid-17th century. By 1680 Dutch and German Jews appeared; Russian and Polish Jews followed, escaping the increasingly restrictive laws in their countries, as well as pogroms. Unlike the majority of the Sephardim, the later arrivals were mostly penniless.

Many of the 18th- and 19th-century Jewish immigrants were untrained, and in England it was not possible

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