Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “London Labour and the London Poor” as Want to Read:
London Labour and the London Poor
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

London Labour and the London Poor

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  439 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Unflinching reports of London's poor from a prolific and influential English writer

London Labour and the London Poor originated in a series of articles, later published in four volumes, written for the Morning Chronicle in 1849 and 1850 when journalist Henry Mayhew was at the height of his career. Mayhew aimed simply to report the realities of the poor from a compassiona

Paperback, 544 pages
Published August 29th 1985 by Penguin Classics (first published 1861)
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 London Labour and the London Poor, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about London Labour and the London Poor

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jason Mills
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of London, Victoriana, poverty, labour, social history, capitalism...
London Labour and the London Poor began life in a newspaper around 1850 and went through several editions, culminating in four volumes. Mayhew sought to survey at first-hand the lives of the impoverished, and analyse the causes of their poverty. Modern popular editions like this one are selections from the larger work. The editors in this case have sought not merely to provide a 'colourful' selection of Mayhew's interviews with the poor, but to represent the breadth of his writings and concerns. ...more
Will Ransohoff
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was interesting. The work doesn't have much of a central thesis, it just set out to holistically describe how a huge and diverse group of people lived. Mayhew decided to meticulously chronicle the professions and activities of people living in penury in 1840s London, and that's exactly what he did. But calling his work 'meticulous' just doesn't do it justice.

I've always thought of cities as these massive, churning processes that are completely beyond comprehension, but Mayhew wasn't having
Tieu uyen
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
đọc để biết Svetlana bị ảnh hưởng từ đâu.
Martin Jones
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

London Labour and the London Poor is Henry Mayhew’s classic investigation into the lives of nineteenth century street traders, who made their living making, finding and selling things on the streets of London.

For me, the best aspect of the book were the portraits of individuals based on interviews. All of Mayhew’s subjects speak in their own voices. The eight year old cress seller, the clothing salesman describing his dodges, the penniless old woman nursing her dying husband, and the toshers fin
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally a bit laborious (no pun intended) to read, but many of the anecdotes - people who train dancing pigs, the reminiscences of burglars, those who wade thru sewers to find valuables - are fascinating. The fourth volume is largely written by others than Mayhew, and is a bit of a different book. This section is more concerned with judging those profiled rather than allowing them to speak for themselves.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
took me a while to get through this one. (i only get to read before bed.) one of those books that you can read 30 pages one night and be enthralled and the next night only 3 because its just tedious. a lot of info is repeated through different chapters and could probably be edited down to half its size. but it was interesting to read from the point of view of an interviewer rather than someone infiltrating the culture. i learnt alot about the working poor and the various ways they try to make a ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A quite extraordinary book - there's just so much (too much, for me) detail about wages, prices, diets, street's full to bursting with information. And so many glaring similarities with today, too.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
There's a lot of valuable information but not something that you read for the fun of it. This is were the rating system of I like it, etc. is difficult to use. A book may be very well written and/or full of information and a seminal of it's field but that doesn't mean you actually like it.
Austen to Zafón
I read this years ago as an antidote to all the English literature I was reading that I loved, but that primarily concerned the upper class: Austen, Wodehouse, Bronte, Saki, Trollope, Sayers, Christie, and so on. I wanted to know more about the rest of London (and English) society. Well-known journalist Henry Mayhew first published his research into "The Condition and Earnings of Those That Will Work, Cannot Work, and Will Not Work" in the newspaper, and then expanded his work into four volumes. ...more
Edwin John Moorhouse Marr
Absolutely fascinating book, providing an insight into the lives and struggles of the 19th century poor. At times it is hilariously funny, and at other times, heartbreakingly sad, especially with the discussion of the mudlarks and sewer workers, in addition to the beggars, most of whom Mayhew understands as frauds. It is clear that Mayhew is coming from a particular angle, and therefore emphasises the sympathy of the people he describes, and at times I feel we are hearing Mayhew's speech, more t ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God
  • The Victorian Underworld
  • Daily Life in Victorian London: An Extraordinary Anthology
  • London: A Social History
  • Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870
  • 1700: Scenes from London Life
  • London Journal, 1762-1763
  • Selected Letters
  • The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis
  • The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
  • City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London
  • The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital
  • The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England
  • Georgian London: Into the Streets
  • The Victorians
  • In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon's Wars, 1793–1815
  • The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century
  • Evening's Empire: A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe
Henry Mayhew was an English social researcher, journalist, playwright and advocate of reform. He was one of the co-founders of the satirical and humorous magazine Punch in 1841. He is also known for his work as a social researcher, publishing an extensive series of newspaper articles in the Morning Chronicle that was later compiled into the book series London Labour and the London Poor (1851), a g ...more
More about Henry Mayhew...