A payment receipt for a hawker licence

Itinerant hawkers, or 'travelling cookshops', were a common sight during the early 20th century. They provided cheap meals right at the customer's doorstep. While the colonial government recognized that these hawkers provided an indispensable service as affordable food options for immigrant labourers, the hawkers' unregulated use of public space was also worrying. From the late 19th century, the colonial authorities implemented more regulations to register and licence these hawkers.