Green’s Dictionary of Slang

screever n.

[screeve v.]

1. (also screeve, scriever, scrivener) a pavement artist, who draws in coloured chalks on the paving stones.

[UK]Edinburgh Rev. July 485: There are many cadgers who write short sentences with chalk upon the flags and some of them do it remarkably well; these are called screevers.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 3 Apr. 6/1: The screever is a character who claims recognition as a professor of the fine arts [...] with fish, flowers, etc. drawn upon the flags or pavement with coloured chalk.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 88: screever a man who draws with coloured chalks on the pavement figures of our Saviour crowned with thorns, specimens of elaborate writing, thunderstorms, ships on fire, &c. The men who attend these pavement chalkings, and receive halfpence and sixpences from the admirers of street art, are not always the draughtsmen. The artist or screever drew perhaps in half-a-dozen places that very morning, and rented the spots out to as many cadaverous looking men.
[UK]Story of a Lancashire Thief 9: I’ve spoken of Curly Bob, the Screever, and Brummagem Joe. Before Bob took to the chalks, he had been a jigger-dubber [...] but got sacked for boozing.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Clarkson & Richardson Police! 236: Pavement or causeway artists, in their own language called ‘cadgers sreeving’ [sic].
[UK]J. Caminada Twenty-Five Years of Detective Life I 14: The ‘screeve,’ or chalk artist, who draws pictures upon the flags.
[UK]Sporting Times 2 June 2/5: He was filled with compassion for a poor scriever who was drawing bits of Killarney scenery on the paving stones.
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 185: ‘I’ll make it ’arf-a-go,’ said the screever.
[Aus]Advertiser (Adelaide) 25 Oct. 32/8: The ‘screever’ (pavement artist) is informed where he can loan chalked pictures for a ‘susheroon’ (five shillings) a day.
[UK]‘George Orwell’ Down and Out in Complete Works I (1986) 163: I’m what they call a serious screever. I don’t draw in blackboard chalks like these others, I use proper colours.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 61: In Frith Street I talked to a ‘screever’ who was finding it cold sitting on the pavement.
[UK](con. 1932) W. Woodruff Beyond Nab End 32: A man could [...] buy a box of chalks and become a ‘screever’.

2. a writer of begging letters.

[UK]H. Mayhew Great World of London I 46: Screevers or writers of ‘slums’ (letters) and ‘fakements’ (petitions), and referees.
[UK]London Misc. 3 Mar. 57: You’d better be a screever if they ask you [...] You mean a begging-letter-writer? [F&H].
[UK]J. Greenwood Dick Temple I 233: Mr. Mallet was a ‘screever,’ i.e., a begging-letter writer.
[UK]Hampshire Teleg. 31 Mar. 11/5: The knavish resources of the ‘screevers’ or writers of begging letters and petitions, are infinite.
[UK]H. Baumann ‘Sl. Ditty’ Londinismen (2nd edn) v: Yet moochin’ arch-screevers, / Concoctin’ deceivers, / Chaps as reap like their own / What by tothers were sown.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

In phrases