Recruiting Sergeants at Westminster

Street Life in London

Recruiting Sergeants at Westminster


John Thomson

(Scottish, 1837-1921)


Image: 11 x 8.7 cm (4 5/16 x 3 7/16 in.); Paper: 11 x 8.7 cm (4 5/16 x 3 7/16 in.); Mounted: 27 x 20.7 cm (10 5/8 x 8 1/8 in.)

Photography Discretionary Fund 2019.50


Fun Fact

The hub of army recruitment in London in the late 19th century was this street corner, the site of the Mitre and Dove, a pub with a name that ironically invoked the church and peace.


The sergeants, who held these posts for many years, were paid by the recruit, receiving a little over £1 for each person who ended up serving in the army. Out of that, the recruiters had to pay expenses, including giving each enlistee a shilling (1/20th of a pound) and paying “bringers” who supplied them with likely prospects. In 1875, 3,605 approved recruits were enlisted from London.

See also
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email