The event listed on the purchased ticket is strictly for ticket holders who are over 18 years of age. In this illustrated talk, historian Sarah Wise pieces together a much more complex picture of life in the slum. A mistrust of authority, that means those escaping the police could always besure of an open door or a helping hand. Only the best histories can claim as much. London always exists in multiple versions, though, beneath this superficial rhetoric. And in the process, the Nichol legend dies a death.
A brilliant new book about the seedy side of Victorian London by a talented young historian. I got this book out of the library for two reasons: 1 someone recommended it in the Goodreads reviews for 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. Peers of the Realm, local politicians, churchmen and lawyers were making profits on these death-traps of as much as 150 per cent per annum. All provide good reasons for Wise to digress frequently and widen the book's scope: Old Nichol was symbolic of a deeper rottenness in the heart of the capital that could not be eradicated either by revolution or religion. Yet while few denied the horrific conditions in which the costers, cabinet-makers, flower-sellers, seamstresses and their families lived, there was little agreement as to how to solve the long-term problem of working-class poverty and the familial violence it engendered. But the rich diversity of the area, the first stop for a succession of different immigrant cultures that continues today, has made the area a magnet for writers.
This breadth and balance lend The Blackest Streets both its scholarly heft and its freshness. Instead what we find is something of an open-air laboratory for exploring ideas about how chronic poverty could be eradicated — a place to which many politically and religiously inspired individuals came to investigate the condition of the poor at the end of the 19th century. There was a danger from the start, even to live in the buildings. One of the interesting themes that runs through the book, is that there is a instinctive collectivism by the people who lived there. Certainly there was juvenile delinquency: gangs of teenage boys fighting each other with knives over the tiniest provocations Wise is very good at leading the reader to think about contemporary resonances while never stating them.
The nineteenth century was of course a time of political radicalism and Wise succeeds in animating the different political currents that flowed through the area. Not only from a Victorian point of view. Please note over 70,000 painters of this period, many very obscure, have been identified and this blog concentrates on those that have come up for auction in the last ten years or so. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it gave me a new interest in Victorian slums and slum clearance. She teaches 19th-century social history and literature to both undergraduates and adult learners, and is visiting professor at the University of California's London Study Center, and a guest lecturer at City University.
This book has approximately forty photos or drawings, and two color maps from the period. Inconvenient People was shortlisted for the 2014 Wellcome Book Prize and was a book of the year in the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Guardian and Spectator. In the Blackest streets, she looks at a section, this slum, seemingly set up by sloppy workmanship, isolation and treatment like the unwanted step-child. She shows how early attempts at reform and improvement were often blocked by the rich local politicians — who often had their own fingers in the pie. There were the anarchists, for instance, fascinated by the possibilities of ferment; there was the publicity-loving, socially well-connected High Anglican churchman Father Jay, who tried to improve the lots of his male parishioners with muscular Christianity, luring them to his church with a boxing ring in its basement.
We regret that tickets cannot be exchanged or refunded after purchase. 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. It's nearly unbelievable that the cream of London society would also treat the Old Nichol as somewhat of a tourist destination. It is a very well written and researched history book. It does so in a way that's really neither marginilising or criminalising, although there is a great deal of poverty and criminal activity covered in the book. But Sarah Wise is too clever and considered a historian simply to give us a lurid, one-dimensional Victorian melodrama. In that novel - a huge bestseller in 1896 - poverty, violence and squalor contaminated the life of a decent young lad, ruining his chances to improve his lot.
But I'm sad to say that hasn't changed either. I'm sure the residents weren't all too keen on being treated almost like a zoo exhibit. 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 politicians and churchmen. The East End of London has had more than its share of historians. She has been a guest on Radio 4's All in the Mind, Radio 3's Night Waves and the Guardian's Books Podcast about 19th-century mental health.
I've since discovered that my lot were actually in Haggerston, several blocks to the north, but never mind. If the event is cancelled, please contact us for information on receiving a refund from the responsible party. I rarely know who these paintings were sold to or the price they fetched. She excavates the Old Nichol from the ruins of history, laying bare the social and political conditions that created and sustained this black hole which lay at the very heart of the Empire. Still, makes you glad that the people of the Nichol proved that beggars can be choosers, you get some sense of their own anger and irreverance at those presuming to dictate to them, Not enough, I wish there'd been more. We also learn of the struggles that shaped the region, how the people themselves tried to escape the poverty, by resisting the system itself, or by stealing and living below the law.
Reading about one of the worst slums ever seen in London is extremely educational. Certainly there was drunkenness; as Wise notes, if one lived in a freezing, stinking house, what could be more welcoming than the warmth and light of a pub? Tickets are sold subject to the venue or promoter's right to alter or vary the programme due to events or circumstances beyond its control without being obliged to refund monies or exchange tickets. Register a Free 1 month Trial Account. Wise looks at who this slum came about. In the late 1800s the area was already gaining a reputation and was often the destination for visitors who had something to say about the poverty. The scandal was that much of this horrifying property was owned not by rapacious Rachman figures, but by impeccably middle-class landlords, who airily left the business of rent-collecting to hirelings, and who found any idea of improvement to these wretched dwellings unthinkable. These new homes were designed as ideal homes for the poor working people of the Nicol.
Shining a light on such things brought about change then. The ticket holder voluntarily assumes all risks and danger incidental to the event for which the ticket is issued, whether occurring prior, during or after the event. One would expect, for instance, that crime rates would have made Old Nichol an area for anyone to avoid. How it developed out of need, with landlords themselves often secretive and very wealthy men could make fortunes offering housing to the poorest people. She recovers Old Nichol from the ruins of history and lays bare the social and political conditions that created and sustained this black hole which lay at the very heart of the Empire. Images of ill residents, malnourished children, livestock living cheek by jowl with their human owners, and houses in permanent ill repair populate these pages.