London Labour and the London Poor : A cyclopaedia of the condition and earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and those that will not work

Dublin Core

Title

London Labour and the London Poor : A cyclopaedia of the condition and earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and those that will not work

Description

Henry Mayhew created this piece of Victorian journalism in which he detailed the conditions of the people working in London. The project began as a series of articles in London’s Morning Chronicle. Mayhew collected and published his essays in three volumes in 1851, and added a fourth volume in the 1861-1862 edition. The first three volumes of Mayhew’s book cover categories of workers including “street sellers, street buyers, street finders, street performers, street artizans, and street labourers” A fourth volume was later published focusing on “Those that will not work: comprising prostitutes, thieves, swindlers, and beggars.” The Gomatos Collection at Marymount University only contains volume 4 of the set at the time of this writing.

Mayhew’s work focuses on the working class in London, their living conditions, and various occupations. In addition to detailed personal accounts based on interviews conducted with working class people, this text also contains charts, graphs, and maps he compiled to provide “scientific” support for his assertions.

Although the book details the lives of the poor in London, the physical appearance of the book is quite the opposite. The book’s binding is a dark red with gilt-edged pages and ornate end papers.

London Labour and the London Poor is a valuable resource in a collection that also contains examples of nineteenth-century British literature. Scholars in the mid-twentieth century began to point out similarities between Mayhew’s descriptions of urban life in London and several novels by Charles Dickens, including Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend and Bleak House (all of which can also be found in Marymount’s Gomatos collection). These similarities have led scholars to believe that Dickens was likely familiar with Mayhew’s work, though such assertions haven’t been absolutely confirmed. It is certain that they were both concerned with the social issues plaguing London at the time.

Further reading:
Dunn, Richard J. "Dickens and Mayhew Once More." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 25.3 (1970): 348-53. Web.

Nelson, Harland S. "Dickens's Our Mutual Friend and Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 20.3 (1965): 207-22. Web.

Wolff, Larry. ""The Boys Are Pickpockets, and the Girl Is a Prostitute": Gender and Juvenile Criminality in Early Victorian England from Oliver Twist to London Labour" New Literary History 27.2 (1996): 227-49. Web.

Creator

Mayhew, Henry, 1812-1887.

Publisher

London : Griffin, Bohn, and Co.

Date

1861-1862

Contributor

Alajmi, Arib
Ficke, Sarah
Giblin, Kaitlyn
Heflin, Sara
Henkle, Richard

Format

4 v. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.

Type

Document

Identifier

http://catalog.wrlc.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=4005324

Files

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Citation

Mayhew, Henry, 1812-1887. , “London Labour and the London Poor : A cyclopaedia of the condition and earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and those that will not work,” Gomatos Reading Room, accessed July 27, 2017, http://gomatos.wrlc.org/items/show/27.