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

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

5.0 1
by Sarah Wise
     
 

A brilliant new book about the seedy side of Victorian London by a talented young historian.

In 1887, government inspectors were sent to report on 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

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Overview

A brilliant new book about the seedy side of Victorian London by a talented young historian.

In 1887, government inspectors were sent to report on 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 lawyers were making profits on these death-traps of as much as 150 per cent per annum. Before long, Old Nichol became a focus of public attention: its 6,000 inhabitants were condemned for their drunkenness and criminality. The solution to the “problem” lay in internment camps, some said, or forced emigration — even eugenics.

The Blackest Streets focuses on the last fifteen years of the nineteenth century, a turbulent period in London’s history, when revolution was very much in the air — when unemployment, agricultural depression and a crackdown on parish relief provided a breeding ground for communists and anarchists.

Sarah Wise explores the real lives behind the statistics, excavating the Old Nichol from the ruins of history, laying bare the social and political conditions that created and sustained this black hole at the very heart of the Empire.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a book about the nature of London itself.”
– Peter Ackroyd

“Wise describes the terrible conditions dispassionately, bringing out the resilience and self-respect of the slum-dwellers.”
– Sunday Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844133314
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/2009
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Wise is a freelance journalist and author of The Italian Boy.

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The Blackest Streets 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DonnaD851 More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written book. If you have an interest in 19th Century London England especially the East End of London known as Bethnal Green or in this book the Old Nichol - I highly recommend this book. Exceptionally well written for those who do ancestry work, research, etc.