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Rookeries in Victorian London

Posted: January 8th, 2021, 4:59 am
by Peter Why
if anyone's interested in the underside of Victorian London, there's this:

The Rookeries of London, by Thomas Beames

Text source (a document scan):

and as a free download on google:

I may do it eventually, if it's not taken up by anyone else, but that could be a year away.

Neither Beames or his book are listed on wikipedia, but there's a quote there from his book, under "Rookery (slum)"
Thomas Beame's The Rookeries of London (1850) also described one:

The Rookery... was like an honeycomb, perforated by a number of courts and blind alleys, cul de sac, without any outlet other than the entrance. Here were the lowest lodging houses in London, inhabited by the various classes of thieves common to large cities… were banded together… Because all are taken in who can pay their footing, the thief and the prostitute are harboured among those whose only crime is poverty, and there is thus always a comparatively secure retreat for him who has outraged his country's laws. Sums here are paid, a tithe of which, if well laid out, would provide at once a decent and an ample lodging for the deserving poor; and that surplus, which might add to the comfort and better the condition of the industrious, finds its way into the pocket of the middleman....
Rev. Thomas Beames (1815-1864) was a Preacher and Assistant of St. James, Westminster.


Re: Rookeries in Victorian London

Posted: January 9th, 2021, 9:55 am
by KevinS
I shall try to get to this.

Re: Rookeries in Victorian London

Posted: January 9th, 2021, 10:52 am
by Peter Why
It's not all as interesting and descriptive as the bit I've quoted, but I do think it gives a good look at life around Seven Dials and other places which Henry Mayhew and Charles Dickens knew well.