Online collections

All collections » Tokens » "MAYOR OF GARRAT HARRY DIMSDALE"


Site search


Political and Social Series Dimsdale Halfpenny D&H1009 "MAYOR OF GARRAT HARRY DIMSDALE"

The obverse shows a cripple in a three-cornered hat with a cane and a basket in his right hand and ringing a bell with his left hand. Circle legend: 'S R HARRY DIMSDALE MUFFIN MERCHT'.

On the reverse side, the inscription: "ELECTED MAYOR OF GARRAT 1796" surrounded by rose branches.

Middlesex Political and Social Series Dimsdale Halfpenny D&H1009Middlesex Political and Social Series Dimsdale Halfpenny D&H1009. Image © Davissons Ltd.

This deformed dwarf, little better than an idiot, was born in Shoog Lane, Haymarket, in 1758. In 1788, he was selling spools of thread and lacing for ladies' corsets, additionally receiving assistance from the parish of Saint Martin. He then started as a cupcake dealer, which made him known on the streets of London.

He lived in a windowless attic with straw on the floor for a bed and went out every morning to sell cupcakes. Harry wandered the streets of the West End ringing his bell and yelling, “Muffins, muffins, muffins! Ladies, buy from me!" He had dark matted hair, fish eyes, and five yellow teeth, which he was very proud of. Harry dressed in a disproportionate, gaudy court suit with an oversized cocked hat. After earning a few pence, he went to breakfast with cookies and gin in the nearest tavern.

His harmless demeanor won him many clients, and life flowed merrily and smoothly until ambition set fire to his soul and he decided to run for mayor of Garratt. For more on Garratt's mayoral election, see Garratt's Funny Mayoral Election .

In 1808, Harry decided to marry one of the inhabitants of the workhouse of St. Anne, and a few weeks after the marriage they had a son, of whom he was very proud.

In 1810, Harry became very ill, lost his sight, and was forced to live in the workhouse of Saint Martin, where he was cared for until his death at the age of 52.