Esoteric London

No. 933: Belvedere Road, SE1

Posted in Architectural, London Labour by esotericlondon on September 25, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_4311 copy

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

The Morning Chronicle: Labour and the Poor – Henry Mayhew, 1849-50:

Letter LX

Thursday, July 11, 1850

Such is an account of the social condition of the London carpenters and joiners, gleaned from my own investigation, as well as from information supplied to me by the most intelligent and truthful of the operatives. I shall give a description of the several branches of the trade.
The term carpenter, I am told, is applicable to any one who cuts, fashions, and joins timber for building. Those who do the work of houses are house carpenters, while those who build ships are ship carpenters. Correctly speaking, however, the framer of a building is the carpenter and the finisher the Joiner: nor, as I learn from the most intelligent of the workmen, can there be an interchange of the labour of these two branches without an inferior degree of skill in the execution of the work being the consequence. “In my opinion,” said one experienced carpenter to me, “to have the trade right well done carpenters should never be put to joiners’ work, nor joiners to carpenters’. When a man’s been long at carpentering, if he’s put to joinering he’s often too rough and rapid; and a joiner, in the same way, is too fine and finicking-like for carpenters’ work. Some men will tell you that they can do one kind of work as well as another; and so they may if they’re only middling hands; but the best carpenter is always cleverest and quickest at his own branch, and the best joiner at his.”

[The whole of the article from which the above excerpt was taken can be read at www.victorianlondon.org. R.D.]

4 Responses

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  1. Chris Bronsk said, on September 25, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Beautiful color, Roger.

  2. Jo Hall said, on September 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Hmm Southbank’s red credentials are at odds with its desire to get rid of the skateboarding area – can’t find anyone who thinks this might be a good idea…


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