PortCities London
UK Bristol Hartlepool Liverpool London Southampton
You are here:  PortCities London home > People and places > Leisure, health and housing
Text Only About this Site Feedback
Explore this site
About maritime London
Early port
Tudor and Stuart port
18th-century port
19th-century port
20th-century port
People and places
Port communities
Crime and punishment
Leisure, health and housing
Thames art, literature and architecture
The working Thames
London's docks and shipping
Trades, industries and institutions
Port of science and discovery
Historical events
Ceremony and catastrophe
London in war and conflict
Fun and games
Things to do
Timeline games
Matching games
Send an e-card

Social conditions in the 19th-century port

Poverty and slum housing
Social investigation
Charles Dickens visits Canning Town
The Bitter Cry of Outcast London
Charles Booth
Gustave Dore
Send this story to a friend Send this story to a friend
Printer-friendly version Printer-friendly version
View this story in pictures View this story in pictures

Social investigation

A political issue?

Boys from Snowfields School in Bermondsey
View full size imageBoys from Snowfields School in Bermondsey, 1894. © NMM

As the 19th century progressed journalists and social reformers carried out surveys in the East End. These revealed the full extent of the plight of the poor.

The studies were part of a new emphasis given to social investigation into the extent and causes of poverty in large industrial cities. They also examined solutions to the problems.

Fear of unrest

Gentleman giving alms to a beggar.
View full size imageA gentleman giving alms to a beggar. © NMM

A series of riots, including the 1887 'Bloody Sunday' demonstration against unemployment, sparked fears of social unrest. These concerns were further fuelled by sensational press reports about life in the East London slums.

Issues such as crime, unemployment and poverty were now very much on the political agenda.


Page 2 of 6. Previous page Next page

Find out more
Fact fileCharles Dickens
The greatest English novelist of the Victorian era
StoriesThe 19th-century port
Docks and industry transform the Thames
StoriesThe Great Dock Strike of 1889
The labour movement's first great victory
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
Legal & Copyright Partner sites: Bristol Hartlepool Liverpool Southampton About this Site Feedback Text Only