Aug 102006

In nineteenth century London, many among London’s indigent population scoured the city’s extensive sewer system searching for coins and other valuables that had been dropped or washed through drains and into the sewers. Those who sought to supplement their incomes in this fashion were called toshers, the practice itself called toshing, and the valuables they sought called tosh. The word was also used to describe thieves who stole copper plating from the bottoms of boats docked along the river Thames.

Toshers appear in Charles Palliser’s excellent novel The Quincunx.

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