London Labour and the London Poor
Selected Edition
  • Publication Date: September 30, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813391 / 1554813395
  • 380 pages; 6" x 9"

Ebook will also be available for purchase upon publication.

Exam Copy

Availability: Worldwide

London Labour and the London Poor

Selected Edition

  • Publication Date: September 30, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813391 / 1554813395
  • 380 pages; 6" x 9"

Produced between 1850 and 1862, London Labour and the London Poor is one of the most significant examples of nineteenth century oral history. The collection teems with the minute particulars of the everyday—bits and pieces of London lives assembled into a precarious whole by the author, editor, and principal investigator, Henry Mayhew. Mayhew was interested in the social fabric of people’s lives, their labour and earnings, but also their families, education, leisure time, and religious beliefs. What gives his “case studies” such immediacy is that they seem to flow unprompted and uninterrupted from the mouths of his subjects: street sellers, dock labourers, musicians, rat catchers, vagrants, chimney sweeps, thieves, and prostitutes.

All are captured in this newly annotated and abridged edition of Mayhew’s four-volume work. Historical appendices include a contemporary map of London, reviews of London Labour, and other slum journalism from the period.

Volume 1

  • Preface
  • THE STREET-FOLK
  • Of Wandering Tribes in General
  • Costermongers
    • The London Street Markets on a Saturday Night
    • The Politics of Costermongers.—Policemen
    • Religion of Costermongers
    • Language of Costermongers
    • The Literature of Costermongers
    • Of the “Penny Gaff”
    • Of the Coster-Girls
    • Of the Homes of the Costermongers
  • Of the Street-Irish
    • Of the Street-Irish
    • Of the Education, Literature, Amusements, and Politics of the Street-Irish
    • The Homes of the Street-Irish
  • Street-Sellers of Green Stuff
    • Watercress Girl
  • Of the Street-Sellers of Stationary, Literature, and the Fine Arts
    • Of the Street-Sellers of Stationary, Literature, and the Fine Arts
    • Of the Death and Fire Hunters
    • Of Political Litanies, Dialogues, etc.
    • Of “Cocks,” etc.
    • Of “Strawing”
    • Of the Sham Indecent Street-Trade
    • Of the Low Lodging-houses of London
    • Of the Filth, Dishonesty, and Immorality of Low Lodging-houses
    • Of Street “Ballads on a Subject”
    • Of the Experience of a Street Author, or Poet
    • Of the Street Booksellers
    • Of the Experience of a Street Bookseller
    • Of the Street-sellers of Engravings, etc., in Umbrellas, etc.
    • Of the “Screevers,” or Writers of Begging-Letters and Petitions
  • Of the Street-Sellers of Manufactured Articles
    • The Crippled Street-seller of Nutmeg-Graters
    • Of the Street-Sellers of Poison for Rats

Volume 2

  • THE STREET-FOLK
  • BOOK THE SECOND
  • Introduction
  • Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
    • Of the Street-Sellers of Petticoat and Rosemary-Lanes
  • Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
    • Of the Street-Sellers of Live Birds
  • Of the Street-Buyers
    • Of the “Rag-and-Bottle,” and the “Marine-Store,” Shops
    • Of the Street-Buyers of Waste (Paper)
  • Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
    • Of the Sewer-Hunters
    • Of the Mud-Larks
    • Of the London Dustmen, Nightmen, Sweeps, and Scavengers
    • Of the Dustmen of London
  • Chimney-Sweepers
    • Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
    • Of the General Characteristics of the Working Chimney-Sweepers
    • Of the Subterranean Character of the Sewers
  • Crossing-Sweepers
    • Crossing-Sweepers
    • Gander—The “Captain” of the Boy Crossing-Sweepers

Volume 3

  • The Destroyers of Vermin
    • A Night at Rat-Killing
    • Her Majesty’s Bug Destroyer
  • OUR STREET FOLK
    • I. Street Exhibitors
      • Exhibitor of the Microscope
      • The Snake, Sword, and Knife-Swallower
      • Street Clown
      • Street Reciter
    • II. Street Musicians
      • “Old Sarah”
      • Tom-tom Players
    • IV. Street Artists
      • Street Photography
    • V. Exhibitors of Trained Animals
      • The Happy Family Exhibitor
  • SKILLED AND UNSKILLED LABOURERS
    • The Coal-Heavers
      • The Coal-Heavers
    • The Dock-Labourers
      • The London Dock
  • LONDON VAGRANTS
    • London Vagrants’ Asylums for the Houseless

Appendix A: Table of Contents

  • Full table of contents of London Labour and the London Poor, including subheadings

Appendix B: Reviews of London Labour and the London Poor

  • 1. Eclectic Review, October 1851
  • 2. Athenaeum, November 15, 1851
  • 3. Reynold’s Newspaper, May 18, 1851
  • 4. Reynold’s Newspaper, June 15, 1851
  • 5. Reynold’s Newspaper, July 20, 1851

Appendix C: Selection of entries from the Morning Chronicle and Volume 4 of London Labour and the London Poor

  • From The Morning Chronicle
    • 1. A Visit to the Cholera Districts of Bermondsey, September 24, 1849
    • 2. Letter I, October 19, 1849
  • From Volume 4
    • 3. Classification of the Workers and Non-Workers of Great Britain
    • 4. Female Operatives
    • 5. Pickpockets and Shoplifters
    • 6. Hindoo Beggars
    • 7. Negro Beggars

Appendix D: Answers to Correspondents

  • 1. No. 19, April 19, 1851
  • 2. No. 24, May 24, 1851
  • 3. No. 33, July 26, 1851
  • 4. Nos. 9 & 10, February 8 & 15, 1851
  • 5. No. 16, March 29, 1851
  • 6. No. 21, May 3, 1851
  • 7. No. 23, May 17, 1851

Appendix E: Mayhew’s Contemporaries and “Slum Journalism”

  • 1. From The Rookeries of London, by Thomas Beames
  • 2. From London Shadows: A Glance at the ‘Homes’ of the Thousands, by George Godwin
  • 3. From Ragged London in 1861, by John Hollingshead

Appendix F: Map of London

Barbara Leckie is a Professor in the Department of English and the Institute for the Comparative Study of Literature, Art, and Culture at Carleton University. Janice Schroeder is an Associate Professor of English at Carleton University.