Victorian slum photos

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Victorian slum photos

Postby Raphael » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:59 pm

I've seen many photos of the slums in Liverpool, but these ones from London in the 1860's beat the Liverpool ones in their degregation. They are shocking- how did people bear to live in such horrific conditions? They must have been so miserable, with never a happy moment in their entire short lives- poor souls.



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The one below I find the most horrible- the children look like spectres, barely alive.



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There is a contemporary account of a London slum in the link below. Scroll down and read Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - The Morning Chronicle : Labour and Poor, 1849-50; Henry Mayhew - A Visit to the Cholera District of Bermondsey. The bit about the water supply is astounding.

http://www.victorianlondon.org/houses/slums.htm
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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Cybele » Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:53 pm

It's a wonder everyone didn't die within a few weeks of moving to such a place.
It's not surprising that disease could spread like a brush fire in conditions like those depicted in the photos.

One book on my "Must Read" list is Steven Johnson's "The Ghost Map." It's about the brilliant detective work that led to the discovery of how cholera was spreading throughout London.
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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Raphael » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:18 pm

It's a wonder everyone didn't die within a few weeks of moving to such a place.
It's not surprising that disease could spread like a brush fire in conditions like those depicted in the photos.


Cholera was rife- an awful disease. The life expectancy was very low. Have you read the account of slum "life" in the link?
It is worse than you could imagine.

One book on my "Must Read" list is Steven Johnson's "The Ghost Map." It's about the brilliant detective work that led to the discovery of how cholera was spreading throughout London.


Does it mention Dr John Snow? He was the one who made the link between filthy, contaminated water and illnesses like cholera.

None of my Victorian ancestors had the misfortune to live in the Liverpool slums- most of them were middle class/upper working class living in the suburban outskirts and in Lancs- some were tenant farmers.
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Cybele » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:05 am

One book on my "Must Read" list is Steven Johnson's "The Ghost Map." It's about the brilliant detective work that led to the discovery of how cholera was spreading throughout London.


Does it mention Dr John Snow? He was the one who made the link between filthy, contaminated water and illnesses like cholera.

None of my Victorian ancestors had the misfortune to live in the Liverpool slums- most of them were middle class/upper working class living in the suburban outskirts and in Lancs- some were tenant farmers.[/quote]

Yes, it does mention Dr. Snow. http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Map-Londons-Terrifying-Epidemic/dp/1594482691/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_1

I've little idea what my Victorian-era ancestors did. I can only assume they were farmers and tradespeople. And I think of Liverpool as the place people left from. My dad's family passed through Liverpool on their way from Sweden to America at the first part of the 20th century; my husband's folks left Scotland via Liverpool in the 1930s. And then, of course, so did George & Georgiana.

Which makes me wonder -- how many thousands and thousands of people have left Europe via the Exit Door of Liverpool?
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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Raphael » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:57 pm

I've little idea what my Victorian-era ancestors did. I can only assume they were farmers and tradespeople. And I think of Liverpool as the place people left from. My dad's family passed through Liverpool on their way from Sweden to America at the first part of the 20th century; my husband's folks left Scotland via Liverpool in the 1930s. And then, of course, so did George & Georgiana.

Which makes me wonder -- how many thousands and thousands of people have left Europe via the Exit Door of Liverpool


Liverpool was the main port- had lots of liners coming and going.It was nearest for the Atlantic. The Everton area (which is not far from the city centre) was where the slums where. I was reading in a local history book this weekend that in the early 1800s and C.18th it was a lovely pastoral valley and rural. It was the middle part of the 1800s when the slums grew.Much of the Liverpool area was still rural at the time the Keats family came to Liverpool. There are vestiges of some of the villages left here- some houses dating from the 1600s- 1820s in some areas. There are some lovely Regency houses 30 mins away from me.Some look like Wentworth Place.Of course all the Victorian slums are well gone- there was a massive demolition in the 1940s- 50s. As late as the 1930s some people were still living in slums.
John....you did not live to see-
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Malia » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:17 pm

Your slum pictures remind me of a picture I found in a Victorian literature book that I bought in my undergrad days. It was a shot of two orphan boys--they might have been brothers, but in any case were obviously eachother's only comfort--sitting on the roadside somewhere in London, leaning against eachother for support. They were young teens--neither older than 14 or 15--wearing ragged clothes and no shoes or socks. They had a starved, haunted expression in their eyes as if they hadn't eaten for days. Their silent struggle to survive together in the vortex of their suffering sent arrows straight to my heart. After viewing such a picture of wretchedness, I could better understand the fire behind Charles Dickens' social commentaries.
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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Raphael » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:31 pm

Poor things- I wonder what became of them? Sadly, few of these orphans had happy endings.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Cybele » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:57 pm

While things have improved greatly, things are still not all that wonderful for orphans. I've seen more than one unfortunate child bounced around a sometimes dysfunctional foster care system.

And I have to laugh every time I hear someone in England call a 100-year-old building "new."
One of the buildings I work in is 140 years old -- it's on the Nation Register of Historic Places -- and it's a constant struggle to keep it from falling down around our ears. In this area of the country, 140 is *really old.* It's hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of a building that's still in use after 400 years.
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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Raphael » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:20 am

While things have improved greatly, things are still not all that wonderful for orphans. I've seen more than one unfortunate child bounced around a sometimes dysfunctional foster care system.


Poor things must be so unsettling.

And I have to laugh every time I hear someone in England call a 100-year-old building "new."
One of the buildings I work in is 140 years old -- it's on the Nation Register of Historic Places -- and it's a constant struggle to keep it from falling down around our ears. In this area of the country, 140 is *really old.*


The house I'm living in is about this age.


It's hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of a building that's still in use after 400 years.



There's a chapel about a 30 min walk from me that dates from 1610. It's still in use as a church and there is a church not far from where my mother lives that dates from 1120. It has two stone effigies of knights from the Crusades in it.
And the hunting lodge of King John dating from 1207 is less than 5 mins away from me. It's a private house now and has had rebuilding but I was told it still has the original building encased in it.My area used to be the Normans' hunting forest.I found out in a local history book that there is a stone house dating from the late 1200's about 2 miles away from where I live.It is the oldest inhabited house in Liverpool the book says.I'll have to go and see it! I am fascinated by history and old buildings.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby chris » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:58 am

looking at those pictures, you can see why so many decided to brave the elements and come out to my neck of the woods, australia. the fresh air and open spaces would have done them the world of good. probably weren't so keen on the heat though.
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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Raphael » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:20 pm

chris wrote:looking at those pictures, you can see why so many decided to brave the elements and come out to my neck of the woods, australia. the fresh air and open spaces would have done them the world of good. probably weren't so keen on the heat though.


It wouldn't be the heat that would bother me it would be the snakes!
John....you did not live to see-
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Victorian slum photos

Postby Malia » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:12 pm

Cybele, I know exactly what you mean about not being able to wrap your head around the idea of a 400 year old building still being in use. When I lived in and then recently visited Britain, my mouth would be agape half the time thinking of the *history* that surrounded me. I remember sitting on a bench outside Durham Cathedral when I was a student at Durham University . I sat with an English student waiting to view some of the ancient manuscripts of the Venerable Bede. I remember staring up at the spires of the Norman cathedral and saying to him, "Isn't that an amazing sight? 900 years old--the history!" He looked at me and answered, "I'd never really thought of it before. I've lived here all my life and the Cathedral is just a part of that. What I would *really* love to see is a rodeo!" He said the word "rodeo" with the same kind of awe with which I contemplated the Cathedral. I was taken aback by his words. "A rodeo?" I said--I wanted to laugh at the comparison. I mean, how many times had I seen the Pendleton Roundup or a Pow-wow? They are common experiences where I live. His comment helped me to understand a little better just how easy it is to take for granted some of the special aspects of the place in which one lives. I had that same experience in Hawai'i when, while I was gaping after rainbows, the locals didn't see them at all.
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