By Gareth Stedman Jones
At the time the most important urban on the planet, Victorian London intrigued and appalled politicians, priests, novelists and social investigators. Dickens, Mayhew, sales space, Gissing and George Bernard Shaw, to call yet a number of, developed a morbid fascination with its sullied streets and the sensational gulf between London sessions. Outcast London explores the London economic climate, in particular its colossal numbers of informal and abnormal day labourers and the artisans and seamstresses engaged in seasonal and workshop trades.
This enormous assemblage was once risky, topic to the ups and downs of the world financial system, to the vagaries of the elements, and to the increase and fall of various trades. Its crises may cause panic in prosperous London. New sorts of charity came into being in addition to, ultimately, an embryonic type of the 20 th century welfare state.
initially sight, the London defined during this e-book is entirely distant from the urban encountered at the present time. yet advancements in fresh many years show that the kinds of abnormal employment, poverty and inequality skilled by modern Londoners are usually not so far-off from these regularly occurring to their Victorian and Edwardian ancestors.
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Extra info for Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship Between Classes in Victorian Society
Nearly all this work had been conceived within a Marxist paradigm which went back to the 1930s and the Popular Front. Among a new generation beginning to write in the mid-1960s, an adventurous political and intellectual radicalism was developing. It aimed not only to broaden the scope of history, but also to question the form and content of its inherited narratives. Feminism challenged the conventional approach to labour and radical history; interest in extra-European movements in the Third World broke free from the polarities of the Cold War and the confinement of national cultures.
Hennock writes: ‘although Stedman Jones argues for continuity in the economic history of London between the sixties and the eighties, the same model is not carried over into the history of social theory. Here the book insists not on continuity but on innovation. ’ 9 Moreover, the innovation upon which I am supposed to insist was the preoccupation of writers such as Booth, Barnett and Marshall with drawing a clear line between the respectable working class and the casual residuum. Here I can only counter that this is a basic misunderstanding of my argument.
Thus Tilbury was not provided with roads capable of accommodating the increasing volume of traffic. The behaviour of dock labourers from the late 1960s through to the beginning of the 1980s was obstinate and shortsighted in their defence of outdated work-practices against containerisation. However, it is not clear that alternative forms of action would have produced a different outcome. Thirty-seven strikes between 1945 and 1955 had already led ship owners to begin to transfer to European ports or to use Felixstowe, Harwich and elsewhere, but from 1966 through to 1981 the numbers of strikes reached epidemic proportions as the decline of the port became headlong.
Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship Between Classes in Victorian Society by Gareth Stedman Jones