The Metropolitan Districts II

Real life London in 1850. A journey through the back streets and into the lives of the people in early Victorian London.

Labour and the Poor Volume II - The Metropolitan Districts eBook Cover


Labour and the Poor Volume II: The Metropolitan Districts


Henry Mayhew


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ISBN (Hardback):


ISBN (Paperback):




In this volume we return to the docks of London and encounter the whippers, backers, and heavers at their gruelling labour. We enter an asylum for the poor as Henry Mayhew interviews a motley collection of threadbare vagrants, tramps, and beggars. The most numerous of the artisans, the boot and shoe makers, tell of frauds and “sweating” undermining their trade.

Volume II of our complete and unabridged “Labour and the Poor” series contains a further 18 separate articles or “Letters”.

Letters to the Editor sent in by The Morning Chronicle’s Victorian readership in response to the revelations unveiled by the investigation continue to pour in.

The Table of Contents for Volume II is shown below but for a better appreciation of the material we suggest previewing the Print Edition Sample which includes the Table of Contents, a sample letter, and the Index.

Labour and the Poor Volume II: The Metropolitan Districts

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Letter XIX.
    • The Coal Labourers of the Metropolis.
    • Coal-whippers—Coal-backers.
  • Letter XX.
    • The Coal Labourers of the Metropolis.
    • Coal-whippers—Coal-backers—Coal-porters—Coal-meters—Waggoners—Trimmers.
  • Letter XXI.
    • The Coal Labourers and Stimulating Drinks.
  • Letter XXII.
    • The Ballast Labourers of the Metropolis.
    • Ballast-getters—Ballast-lightermen—Ballast-heavers.
  • Letter XXIII.
    • The Ballast-heavers.
    • The System of their Employment.
  • Letter XXIV.
    • Meeting of the Ballast-heavers’ Wives—The Lumpers.
  • Letter XXV.
    • The Houses of Refuge for the Destitute Poor.
  • Letter XXVI.
    • The Asylums for the Houseless Poor.
  • Letter XXVII.
    • Of the Vagrants of London.
  • Letter XXVIII.
    • The Characteristics of Vagrant Life.
  • Letter XXIX.
    • The Causes and Costs of Vagrancy.
  • Letter XXX.
    • The Character and Consequences of Vagrancy.
  • Letter XXXI.
    • The Class of Characters Frequenting the Low Lodging-Houses.
    • Statements of a Beggar, a Prostitute and a Meeting of Thieves.
  • Letter XXXII.
    • The Boot and Shoe Makers of London.
    • Earnings—Moral and Physical Condition—Description of the Trade.
  • Letter XXXIII.
    • The Boot and Shoe Makers of London.
    • Men’s-men—Statements of West-end and East-end Workmen.
  • Letter XXXIV.
    • The Boot and Shoe Makers of London.
    • Women’s-men—The Honourable and Slop Trade.
  • Letter XXXV.
    • The Cheap and Slop Shoe Trade.
    • Chamber-masters and the Apprentice System—Statements of East-end Boot and Shoe Makers.
  • Letter XXXVI.
    • The Cheap and Slop Shoe Trade.
    • Frauds—Foreign Labour—Translating.
  • Index   ** print editions only **

For anyone interested in family history or social history, the “Labour and the Poor” series really is an invaluable resource.