Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum” as Want to Read:
The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum

by
3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  150 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
* In 1887 Government inspectors were sent to explore the horrifying - often lethal - living conditions of the Old Nichol, a notorious 15-acre slum in London's East End.
* Among much else they found that the rotting 100-year-old houses were some of the most lucrative properties in the capital for their absent slumlords. Peers of the Realm, local politicians, churchmen and l
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 5th 2008 by Bodley Head (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Blackest Streets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Blackest Streets

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 864)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Djewesbury
Feb 08, 2009 Djewesbury rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-history
Wise has constructed from a great diversity of historical material an excellent and thoroughly convincing account of life in one of East London's roughet, but also most maligned slums, the 'Old Nichol' area of Bethnal Green. The streets and alleys which comprised the Nichol were cleared away to make way for the Boundary Estate at the end of the nineteenth century, and this act of urban cleansing might have removed them from the record forever, but for Wise's assiduous excavation of parish and ve ...more
Mel
I got this from the Whitechapel library as some last minute reading for my interview. On the train home after the interview I took it out of my bag and continued reading. It is a very well written and researched history book. It contained lots of footnotes, and lots of pictures and illustrations from original sources (which is a nice feature in a cheap paperback). The book outlines the history of a Victorian slum in Bethnal Green. It does so in a way that's really neither marginilising or crimin ...more
Andrea
Dec 01, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"This has been a voyeuristic book about voyeurism..." and a good, entertaining, and rage inspiring one it was too! If a little rambling and feeling a bit disconnected at times. I'd be more than happy to sit back in no small amount of awe and wonder to laugh at the Victorian upper-class mental cases who waltzed in to stare at and save poor people, were so many of their prejudices and cracked beliefs not so rife in present times. When they cleared out the Nichol and built beautiful new buildings t ...more
Alex
A "fruitful hotbed of disease and death"!
Persephone
Dec 08, 2011 Persephone rated it liked it
I got this book out of the library for two reasons: 1) someone recommended it in the Goodreads reviews for Lost London: 1870-1945 which I'd recently bought; 2) I thought, based on my struggles with working out historical London streets, that I had ancestors living in the Nichol around 1840. I've since discovered that my lot were actually in Haggerston, several blocks to the north, but never mind.

This is a very readable account of the neighbourhood behind St Leonard Shoreditch which, for about on
...more
Amie Shearer
Feb 11, 2013 Amie Shearer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wise brings the Victorian slum to life, weaving facts, interviews, research & court cases seamlessly together with prose-like writing. Can be a little heavy going in parts but overall a brilliant depiction if life in East End London at the turn of the twentieth century.
H.L. Stephens
Aug 04, 2014 H.L. Stephens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The details and descriptions along with the raw data are mind boggling. Impeccable research. I was impressed from the first page to the last.
Caroline
Feb 08, 2016 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1887 Government inspectors were sent to investigate the Old Nichol, a notorious slum on the boundary of Bethnal Green parish, where almost 6,000 inhabitants were crammed into thirty or so streets of rotting dwellings and where the mortality rate ran at nearly twice that of the rest of Bethnal Green. Among much else they discovered that the decaying 100-year-old houses were some of the most lucrative properties in the capital for their absent slumlords, who included peers of the realm, local p ...more
Madeleine McLaughlin
Oct 12, 2015 Madeleine McLaughlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very readable book about a notorious slum in London, England. When it evolved, who lived there and what it was like there and how it was destroyed. Be prepared for stories of extreme hardship, lived by those who had no welfare or old age pension system. Great history.
Sarah
Jan 17, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, but pretty bleak
Lily C
Mar 03, 2015 Lily C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A very readable account
The Literary Expedition
An in-depth, thoroughly researched portrait of life in a Victorian slum. This book pulls no punches and does not sugar coat the indignities of slum life. Wonderful.

Read Katie's full review here
Noora
Oct 09, 2012 Noora rated it liked it
Three is generous. The writing is inconsistent, and sometimes a little difficult to follow. However, it's worth trudging through as it is a hot bed of information on life in a Victorian slum. There are few books out there that give a reasonably rounded portrayal of the subject.
Marion Husband
Nov 28, 2012 Marion Husband rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little heavy going in parts, but whe she writes about the people in the chapters Prince Arthur and Our Father, it's entertaining, I would have a look at her other, prize winning history The Italian Boy, as that sounds interesting
Renee
Jun 19, 2015 Renee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Detailed and fascinating look into the complete anatomy of a neighborhood.
Adam Johnson
not bad , starts well but looses a little direction, not as good as the Italian Boy, interesting all the same
Amanda Burrows
May 26, 2013 Amanda Burrows rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must for anyone who has an interest in Victorian Working Class families.
Becca Haynes
Jan 01, 2013 Becca Haynes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, excellent book.
Ruth Feathers
Ruth Feathers marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2016
Morgan
Morgan marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2016
John Paul
John Paul marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2016
Karyl
Karyl marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Andrea
Andrea marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Christine Gillies
Christine Gillies marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Robbie
Robbie marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Marc
Marc marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2016
Ashley
Ashley marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2016
Melissa
Melissa marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2016
Kim Smith
Kim Smith marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2016
Kate Sherrard
Kate Sherrard marked it as to-read
Feb 04, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The London Underworld in the Victorian Period: Authentic First-Person Accounts by Beggars, Thieves and Prostitutes
  • The Worst Street In London
  • The Victorian Underworld
  • London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God
  • Dr. Johnson's London
  • The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital
  • 1700: Scenes from London Life
  • The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis
  • The London Hanged: Crime And Civil Society In The Eighteenth Century
  • The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London
  • London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story
  • Georgian London: Into the Streets
  • Victorian People and Ideas
  • The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England
  • The Victorian Celebration of Death
  • The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England
  • Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
  • The Arsenic Century: How Victorian Britain Was Poisoned at Home, Work, and Play
8421640
Extra stories, pictures and further exploration of the subjects of each of my three books are available to read at www.sarahwise.co.uk

You can follow me on twitter @MissSarahWise

My Psychology Today blog on 19th-century mental health is here
http://www.psychologytoday.com/expert...

You can hear me speak about each of my books by going to the following site, and clicking the links
http://ow.ly/PDN4p

A b
...more
More about Sarah Wise...

Share This Book



“A cultural chasm between the giver and the given-to made many of the poorest unwilling to ask for help: if bread, clothing, boots, medical aid, coal and candles were to be accompanied by a sermon, a lecture, an intrusive questioning of the applicant's life history — well, perhaps the hunger and cold would be bearable for a little longer. So they continued to fall to their deaths in the crevasses between the Poor Law and philanthropy.” 0 likes
More quotes…