Author Topic: BOOKLIST: London Social History  (Read 5280 times)

Offline Biker

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BOOKLIST: London Social History
« on: Sunday 21 May 06 19:46 BST (UK) »

There are literally thousands of books on London social history.  This is just a small selection.  I’ve stuck to books that are either in print or reasonably easy to obtain (many excellent works have been out of print for many years, sadly).  To find out more about a book or to find stockists most of them, I suggest Googling or using Online Bookshops …

Although the books cited are generally non-fiction and ‘serious’ (to a greater or lesser degree) social history accounts of London, the novels of the time are not to be discounted in providing another interpretation of London lives.  Dickens firstly comes to mind, but the works of George Gissing are well worth reading especially if your interest lies with the lower middle classes and working classes of London.

The first section is London General with some specialist subjects, the second are more local/personal social histories.

The London Compendium: A Street-by-street Exploration of the Hidden Metropolis by Ed Glinert
Cross-referenced and a decent(ish) index.  A good encyclopaedic snapshot of popular (and some not so popular) London streets with history and social context. Presented in small ‘chunks’ you can  flip from section to section for ages, so good bedtime (or loo!) reading.

London Labour and the London Poor Vols I and II  by Henry Mayhew
Essential reading of contemporary studies/surveys, can be pricey as there are a number of volumes but fairly easy to get second-hand copies.  These are hefty, detailed works, but very worthwhile. Recommended!

The London Underworld in the Victorian Period: Authentic First-person Accounts by Beggars, Thieves and Prostitutes: v. 1 by Henry Mayhew
Like most of Mayhew’s books, essential reading for the London Social Historian.

Pictures from Mayhew.: London 1850  by John Seed
Extracts from Mayhew’s writings, I suppose possibly a ‘potted’ Mayhew?  Though I’ve never seen it.

Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870   by Liza Picard
A more lightweight book, a little short on facts sometimes, but entertaining at the same time

Dr. Johnson's London: Everyday Life in London in the Mid 18th Century by Liza Picard
Interesting and a good overview.

London Revealed: Uncovering London's Hidden History by Julian Shuckburgh,
A coffee table book takes aerial photos of London and overlays them with numerous subject maps detailing  the spread of cholera in the 1800s, the Jack the Ripper murders, extent of German bombing in World War II and many more. Fun, for a while …

Bacon's up to date street map of London 1902 Old House Books
Glimpse into the city of a century ago, as London exploded in size and swallowed large chunks of Essex, Kent and Surrey, not to mention the whole of Middlesex. Railway and underground maps and the original accompanying booklets from the time.

London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd
800 pages! Chapters on drinking, sex, childhood, poverty, crime and punishment, sewage, food, pestilence and fire, immigration, maps, theatre and war etc.  Not particularly by cup of tea – sprawling and not very in depth, but a good beginning overview if that’s what you’re looking for.

London: A Short History by AN Wilson
Look at the architecture of the capital and how it has shaped and been shaped by the people of London. Not one of my particular favourites but has some ‘good bits’.

London's Necropolis: A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery  by John M. Clarke
In the mid-nineteenth century the volume of London's dead was causing considerable public concern. So in 1850 the idea of a great metropolitan cemetery, situated in the suburbs and large enough to contain all of London's dead for an indefinite period, was promoted. The cemetery, which now contains almost 240,000 burials, is still privately owned and administered Each chapter is supported by maps, and there are about 100 black and white photographs to illustrate some of the most interesting memorials and cemetery buildings.

to be continued ...
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Offline Biker

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BOOKLIST: London Social History
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 21 May 06 19:53 BST (UK) »

The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis  by Stephen Halliday
In the sweltering summer of 1858 the stink of sewage from the polluted Thames was so offensive that it drove Members of Parliament from the chamber of the House of Commons. Sewage generated by a population of over two million Londoners was pouring into the river and was being carried to and fro by the tides. The Times called the crisis "The Great Stink". Parliament had to act - drastic measures were required to clean the Thames and to improve London's primitive system of sanitation. The great engineer entrusted by Parliament with this enormous task was Sir Joseph Bazalgette. This book is an account of his life and work.

Bloody Foreigners by Robert Winder
Excellent book recounting the history and social context of immigration to Britain and has some great sections on London, so a must if you’re interested in your immigrant ancestors.  Fantastic!

The Official History of the Metropolitan Police  by Gary Mason
A fair cop! 

London Stories: Personal Lives, Public Histories  by Hilda Kean
Concentrates on the lives of the working classes.

London at War, 1939-1945  by Philip Ziegler
Based on published material as well as personal accounts.

Victorian London's Middle-class Housewife: What She Did All Day  by Yaffa Claire Draznin
Never read it, but should be …. revealing.

Unfortunate Objects: Lone Mothers in Eighteenth-Century London by Tanya Evans

Growing Up Poor: Home, School and Street in London, 1870-1914 by Anna Davin

Times History of London edited by Hugh Clout
Traces the history of London from the earliest traces of habitation 40,000 years ago to the present day. Strong chronology, detailed index, lavish photos, drawings and maps and an etymology of London place names.

London Then and Now by Diane Burstein
Black and white photos of London as it was in times past with a colour photo of the same scene today. Cool!

London's Disused Underground Stations by JC Connor
Ghost stations! St Mary's buried beneath Whitechapel High Street, British Museum, Down Street Mayfair and dozens more.  Interesting and fun stuff.

London's Water Wars: The Competition for London's Water Supply in the Nineteenth Century  by John Graham-Leigh
Fascinating small book if you are interesting in water supply and sanitation issues, a major concern in Victorian times.

The Precariously Privileged: A Professional Family in Victorian London  by Zuzanna Shonfield
A girl growing up in Victorian London, based upon the diaries of Jeanette Marshall.

Housing in Urban Britain 1780-1914  by  Richard Rodger
I’m really interested in housing and housing conditions so I thought this book was really worth reading.  Some interesting background to the social/political issues of urban housing.

The Victorian House
by Judith Flanders
Not strictly a London book, but it’s really enjoyable and interesting, so I’m including it!

continued ...
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Offline Biker

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Re: BOOKLIST: London Social History
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 21 May 06 20:17 BST (UK) »

East End Chronicles by Ed Glinert
History of the East End. Chapters on the Silk Weavers of Spitalfields; Docks, Dockers and River Pirates; Murder and Mayhem on the Radcliffe Highway; Mystics and Myth-Makers; The Blitz and Bombs; The Jewish Ghetto and more reveal the underbelly of the history of the East End.

Our Street: East End Life in the Second World War by Gilda O'Neill
East Ender O'Neill looks at World War II through the eyes of the cockneys who lived through it. Privations, fears, hopes and the ever-present terror of German bombs, yet a story of hope and humour.  Enjoyable and interesting for those who want to reminisce.

My East End: Memories of Life in Cockney London by Gilda O'Neill
Gilda O'Neill talks to family, friends, old-timers, people who remember the East End of a generation or two ago - an East End blown apart by redevelopment and war damage. Tempers the inevitable 'things were better then' sentiment with more sanguine memories.

East End 1888 by William J. Fishman

Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East-End Tenement Block, 1887-1920  by Jerry White
Rothschild Buildings were typical of the ‘model dwellings for the working classes’ which were such an important part of the response to late-Victorian London’s housing problem. They were built for poor but respectable Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, and the community which put down roots there was to be characteristic of the East End Jewish working class in its formative years

The Politics of the Poor: The East End of London 1885-1914  by Marc Brodie
An academic work.

East End: Four Centuries of London Life by Alan Palmer

London's East End: Life and Traditions  by Jane Cox
Covers five centuries, personal accounts, historical data, photographs etc.

Life and Death in London's East End: 2000 Years at Spitalfields by Christopher Thomas
A significant chronicle of Spitalfields life.

A Jewish Childhood 1893-1911: From Tsarist Poland to London's East End by Jack Bourne

The Mapmakers of Spitalfields by S.M. Islam

East End 1888: Life in a London Borough Among the Labouring Poor by W. J Fishman

Holding on by Mervyn Jones
Life of a wheelright in the East End

Silvertown: An East End Family Memoir by Melanie McGrath

The Poplars by Ron Wilcox
Tells what life was like on the front line during First World Was experienced by the 1/17th London (Poplar and Stepney) Battalion, the East End Regiment.  I haven’t read this yet, but looks unusual and it’s on my reading list.

The East End I Knew  by Allan Young
A personal record in pictures and words

Mile End old town, 1740-1780: A social history of an early modern London suburb by Derek Morris 

The East End at Work by Rosemary Taylor and Christopher Lloyd

Hackney Memories by  Alan Wilson
1930s working class life in Hackney

Clouds of Glory: A Hoxton Childhood by Bryan Magee
1930s working class life in Hoxton

Shop Boy: An Autobiography  by John Birch Thomas
Turn of the century life of a shop assistant in Peckham (and Wales). Rather on the romantic side.

Greenwich and Woolwich at Work  by Mary Mills
19th and 20th Century history with 200 photographs

Children of Bethnal Green by Doris M. Bailey
Working class life in the Bethnal Green of the 1920-1950s.

If you're looking for a particular subject not covered here, post a question on the London Board - I'm sure someone will dig something up for you ...

If you have anything to add, please PM me and I'll include it.

Hope that is interesting.

Biker  :)
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Offline mel.merri

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Entreprenurial options for Londoners, 1700-1900
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 01 June 08 09:24 BST (UK) »
This is an occasion to add information which I come
across while engaged in my own FH research.

I have just taken note of the work I wish to add here,
and hope others will add interesting works of their own
finding, with a guide to book reviews etc.

Nicola Phillips
_Women in Business: 1700-1850_, Woodbridge,
Suffolk, Boydell Press, 2006
"predominantly London-based female entrepreneurs
and entrepreneurship"
Book Reviews:
Phillips - ENGLAND - Kingham [Chipping Norton?], Oxon.; plus Westminster, St George Hanover Square;
plus India - Allahabad, Bengal, East Indian Railways; plus USA - Madison, Lake Co., Ohio; & CANADA - Alberta.
Mitchell - WALES - Anglesey - Beaumaris, & SCOTLAND, Berwickshire - Edrom; plus Roxburghshire - Lilliesleaf; plus ISLE OF MAN;
plus ENGLAND, Westminster, St George Hanover Square;