Although its primary role is to document cricket, the early editions of The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack have become a fascinating time machine into society in the 19th century. There are a whole bunch of advertisements in the late 1800s, offering various questionable concoctions to improve your health; Naturalists guns; Carry-All Fishing Baskets; Marquees (as used by Oxford and Cambridge!); false knee caps “made of finest plated steel wire, meshed so as to contract and expand with the movement of the knee.” You name it, Wisden advertised it.
Click here to see one I scanned for this brilliant article in the 1992 Almanack. Benjamin Edgington’s marquees, on Duke Street (roughly Borough High Street as it is today). You need to register (no bad thing anyway) to read it, but it’s worth doing. There are some absolute gems in there.
And by the by, Thomas Williams was indicted for stealing 40 yards of Edgington’s canvas on February 2, 1833, and transported to Australia for seven years. So now you know.