Esoteric London

No. 782: Blackwater Street, SE22

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Graffiti, London Types by esotericlondon on February 26, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_4328 copy

Blackwater Street, London, SE22. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

London Labour and the London Poor; A Cyclopædia of the Condition and Earnings of Those That Will Work, Those That Cannot Work, and Those That Will Not Work, Volume 4 – Henry Mayhew, 1862:

I happened to see an old woman in the Strand, who is one of the most hardened beggars in London. She has two children with her, but one she generally disposes of by placing her in some doorway. The child falls back on the step, and pretends to be asleep or half-frozen with the cold. Her naturally pale face gives her a half-starved look, which completes her pitiable appearance. Any gentleman passing by being charitably inclined may be imposed upon and induced to touch her on the shoulder. The child will move slowly and rub her eyes, and the man, thoroughly deceived, gives her an alms and passes on, when the little deceiver again composes herself to wait for the next chance. This occurred while I was looking on; but unfortunately for the child’s success the policeman on the beat happened to come up, and she made her retreat to a safer and more convenient locality.

[ The people in the photograph above are the work of the street artist Stik. To see more of his work visit his website by clicking here. R.D.]