Esoteric London

No. 954: Charterhouse Street, EC1

Posted in Graffiti, London Labour, London Places by esotericlondon on October 24, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_5135 copy

Charterhouse Street, London, EC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

The Terrible Sights of London and Labours of Love in the Midst of Them – Thomas Archer, 1870:

We have all heard of the terrible conditions which have marked out this locality in the records of want and misery. We have most of us learned to regard this eastern portion of the Great City as a sad example of the results of depressed industry, led into chronic pauperism by the efforts of disconnected and unorganised charity seeking to relieve those for whom the poor-laws had provided no adequate assistance, under the stress of exceptionally hard times. More than two years ago, all London responded to appeals made on behalf of an entire population; newspaper reporters, benevolent agents, government officers and inspectors, charitable commissioners, all issued their reports – first of the utter destitution which cried urgently for aid, and then of the demoralisation which followed the indiscriminate distribution of alms. ‘The East-end Distress’ became a regular heading for a daily column in the journals, and week by week struggling shopkeepers themselves succumbed to the heavy burden of the rates claimed on behalf of those whose custom could alone keep themselves and their children from ruin. Famine had followed plague in that afflicted district, and the dreadful visitation of cholera was succeeded by a strike for wages at a time when many employers were keeping shipyards and workshops unprofitably open, rather than deprive their labourers of all means of subsistence; while others were compelled either to go on ‘half-time’ or to discharge all their superfluous hands.

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

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