St Leonard’s Church, Streatham High Road, London SW16. Photo © Roger Dean, 2013
The Little World of London; or, Pictures in Little of London Life – Charles Manby Smith, 1857:
[…] the very first human subject that presents himself for consideration on a summer’s morning in London, to any early bird who happens to be astir in time to catch such an unfortunate worm, is that social phenomenon, the houseless, homeless vagrant. Summer is the time of carnival, during which these gentry pay no rent. We have passed two this morning on the bridge, curled up on a seat, on the leeward side of the parapet, and snoring audibly to the response of the river below; and as we leave the bridge, and pursue our way northward to the City, we see one or two more fast locked in slumber, in here and there an out-of-the-way recess, whose infringement of the law the policeman, if he sees them at all, compassionately ignores, leaving them to recruit exhausted nature by a few brief hours of rest. But the time of awakening is close at hand; the wretchedness that “snores upon the flint” must start from the comfortless lair at the first summons of authority, and forth again upon its weary pilgrimage.