James Guidney aka Jemmy the Rockman

All Things Georgian

James Guidney, aka Jemmy the Rockman, was a well-known character on the streets of Birmingham in the latter years of the Georgian and into the Victorian era, with his red military jacket and long white beard. Jemmy was a true English eccentric and had lived a life full of colour and adventure. He eventually settled at Birmingham where he sold a form of rock candy on the streets, which he called his ‘Composition’, crying out as he walked with his tin of his sweets, “Composition – Good for cough or cold – Cough or cold”.

© Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

Luckily for us, in his old age he wrote his autobiography, enabling us to tell his story completely.

Jemmy was born at Norwich to Jeremiah Guidney, a poor but hard-working man – Jemmy said he was born on the 1st September 1782 at Norwich but the only matching…

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