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London Low Life

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"This is an engaging and timely resource...with the potential to change the way we have approached the Victorian period and imagined life in London"

Rosalind Crone,
Open University

London Low Life brings to life the teeming streets of Victorian London, inviting students and scholars to explore the gin palaces, brothels and East End slums of the nineteenth century’s greatest city.

From salacious ‘swell’s guides’ to scandalous broadsides and subversive posters, the material sold and exchanged on London’s bustling thoroughfares offers an unparalleled insight into the dark underworld of the city. Children’s chapbooks, street cries, slang dictionaries and ballads were all part of a vibrant culture of street literature.

This is also an incredible visual resource for students and scholars of London, with many full colour maps, cartoons, sketches and a full set of the essential Tallis’ Street Views of London – a unique resource for the study of London architecture and commerce. We also include George Gissing's famous London scrapbooks from the Pforzheimer Collection, containing his research for London novels such as New Grub Street and The Netherworld.

Topics covered include:

  • the underworld
  • slang
  • working-class culture
  • street literature
  • popular music
  • urban topography
  • ‘slumming’
  • Prostitution
  • the Temperance Movement
  • social reform
  • Toynbee Hall
  • police and criminality
See also: Victorian Popular Culture: A Portal