London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2

Mayhew, Henry


Of the London Dustmen, Nightmen, Sweeps, and Scavengers.


THESE men constitute a large body, and are a class who, all things considered, do their work silently and efficiently. Almost without the cognisance of the mass of the people, the refuse is removed from our streets and houses; and London, as if in the care of a tidy housewife, is being cleaned. Great as are the faults and absurdities of many parts of our system of public cleansing, nevertheless, when compared with the state of things in any continental capital, the superiority of the metropolis of Great is indisputable.

In all this matter there is little merit to be attributed to the workmen, except that they may be well drilled; for the majority of them are as much machines, apart from their animation, as are the cane and whalebone made to cleanse the chimney, or the clumsy-looking machine which, in its progress, is a vehicular scavenger, sweeping as it goes.

These public cleansers are to be thus classified:—

. Dustmen, or those who empty and remove the collection of ashes, bones, vegetables, &c., deposited in the dust-bins, or other refuse receptacles throughout the metropolis.

. Nightmen, or those who remove the contents of the cesspools.

. Sweeps, or those who remove the soot from the chimneys.

. Scavengers, or those who remove the dirt from the streets, roads, and markets.

Let me, however, before proceeding further with the subject, lay before the reader the following important return as to the extent and contents of this prodigious city: for this document I am indebted to the Commissioners of Police, gentlemen from whom I have derived the most valuable information since the commencement of my inquiries, and to whose courtesy and consideration I am anxious to acknowledge my many obligations.

   Metropolitan Police DistrictThe Metropolitan Police District comprises a circle, the radius of which is 15 miles from Charing Cross; the extreme boundary on the N. includes the parish of Cheshunt and South Mimms; on the S., Epsom; on the E., Dagenham and Crayford; and on the W., Uxbridge and Staines.. City of LondonThe City of London is bounded on the S. by the River, on the E. by Whitechapel, on the W. by Chancery Lane, and N. by Finsbury.. Grand Total. 
   Inner DistrictThe inner district includes the parish of St. John, Hampstead, on the N.; Tooting and Streatham on the S.; Ealing and Brentford on the W.; and Greenwich on the E. The Registrar General's District is equal, or nearly so, to the inner Metropolitan Police District.. Outer District. Total. 
 Area . . . . . (in square miles) 91 609 1/2 700 1/2 1 3/4 702 1/4 
 Parishes . . . . . . . . . 82 136 218 97 315 
 Streets, Roads, &c. (length of, in miles) 1,700 1,936 3,636 50 3,686 
 Number of Houses inhabited . . 289,912 59,995 349,907 15,613 365,520 
 " " uninhabited . 11,868 1,437 13,305 387 13,692 
 " " being built . 4,634 1,097 5,731 23 5,754 
 Population . . . . . . . . 1,986,629 350,331 2,336,960 125,000 2,461,960 
 Police Force . . . . . . . 4,844 660 5,504 568 6,072 
 18th September, 1850. 

The total here given can hardly be considered as the dimensions of the metropolis; though, where the capital begins and ends, it is difficult to say. If, however, London be regarded as concentring within the Inner Police District, then, adding the extent and contents of that district to those of the City, as above detailed, we have the subjoined statement as to the dimensions and inhabitants of the

Metropolis Proper.
 Area . . . . 92 3/4 square miles. 
 Parishes . . . 179   
 Length of street, roads, &c. 1750 miles. 
 Number of inhabited houses . . 305,525   
 Ditto uninhabited . . 12,255   
 Ditto being built . . 4657   
 Population . . 2,111,629   
 Police force . . . 5412   

But if the extent of even this "inner district" be so vast as almost to overpower the mind with its magnitude—if its population be greater than that of the entire kingdom of Hanover, and almost equal to that of the republic of Switzerland—if its houses be so numerous that placed side by side they would form continuous line of dwellings from its centre to Moscow—if its streets and roads be nearly equal in length to quarter of the diameter of the earth itself,—what a task must the cleansing of such a bricken wilderness be, and yet, assuredly, though it be by far the greatest, it is at the same time by far the cleanest city in the world.

The removal of the refuse of a large town is, perhaps, of the most important of social operations. Not only is it necessary for the wellbeing of a vast aggregation of people that the


ordure should be removed from both within and around their dwellings as soon as it is generated, but nature, ever working in a circle and reproducing in the same ratio as she destroys, has made this same ordure not only the cause of present disease when allowed to remain within the city, but the means of future health and sustenance when removed to the fields.

In a leading article in the , written about years since, I said—

That man gets his bones from the rocks and his muscles from the atmosphere, is beyond all doubt. The iron in his blood and the lime in his teeth were originally in the soil. But these could not be in his body unless they had previously formed part of his food. And yet we can neither live on air nor on stones. We cannot grow fat upon lime, and iron is positively indigestible in our stomachs. It is by means of the vegetable creation alone that we are enabled to convert the mineral into flesh and blood. The only apparent use of herbs and plants is to change the inorganic earth, air, and water, into organic substances fitted for the nutrition of animals. The little lichen, which, by means of the oxalic acid that it secretes, decomposes the rocks to which it clings, and fits their lime for 'assimilation' with higher organisms, is, as it were, but the primitive bone-maker of the world. By what subtle transmutation inorganic nature is changed into organic, and dead inert matter quickened with life, is far beyond us even to conjecture. Suffice it that an express apparatus is required for the process—a special mechanism to convert the 'crust of the earth,' as it is called, into food for man and beast.

Now, in Nature everything moves in a circle —perpetually changing, and yet ever returning to the point whence it started. Our bodies are continually decomposing and recomposing—indeed, the very process of breathing is but one of decomposition. As animals live on vegetables, even so is the refuse of the animal the vegetable's food. The carbonic acid which comes from our lungs, and which is poison for us to inhale, is not only the vital air of plants, but positively their nutriment. With the same wondrous economy that marks all creation, it has been ordained that what is unfitted for the support of the superior organisms, is of all substances the best adapted to give strength and vigour to the inferior. That which we excrete as pollution to our system, they secrete as nourishment to theirs. Plants are not only Nature's scavengers but Nature's purifiers. They remove the filth from the earth, as well as disinfect the atmosphere, and fit it to be breathed by a higher order of beings. Without the vegetable creation the animal could neither have been nor be. Plants not only fitted the earth originally for the residence of man and the brute, but to this day they continue to render it habitable to us. For this end their nature has been made the very antithesis to ours. The process by which we live is the process by which they are destroyed. That which supports respiration in us produces putrefaction in them. What our lungs throw off, their lungs absorb—what our bodies reject, their roots imbibe.

Hence, in order that the balance of waste and supply should be maintained—that the principle of universal compensation should be kept up, and that what is rejected by us should go to the sustenance of plants, Nature has given us several instinctive motives to remove our refuse from us. She has not only constituted that which we egest the most loathsome of all things to our senses and imagination, but she has rendered its effluvium highly pernicious to our health—sulphuretted hydrogen being at once the most deleterious and offensive of all gases. Consequently, as in all other cases where the great law of Nature has to be enforced by special sanctions, a double motive has been given us to do that which it is necessary for us to do, and thus it has been made not only advantageous to us to remove our refuse to the fields, but positively detrimental to our health, and disgusting to our senses, to keep it in the neighbourhood of our houses.

In every well-regulated State, therefore, an effective and rapid means for carrying off the ordure of the people to a locality where it may be fruitful instead of destructive, becomes a most important consideration. Both the health and the wealth of the nation depend upon it. If to make two blades of wheat grow where one grew before is to confer a benefit on the world, surely to remove that which will enable us at once to do this, and to purify the very air which we breathe, as well as the water which we drink, must be a still greater boon to society. It is, in fact, to give the community not only a double amount of food, but a double amount of health to enjoy it. We are now beginning to understand this. Up to the present time we have only thought of removing our refuse —the idea of using it never entered our minds. It was not until science taught us the dependence of one order of creation upon another, that we began to see that what appeared worse than worthless to us was Nature's capital—wealth set aside for future production.

In connection with this part of the subject, viz., the use of human refuse, I would here draw attention to those erroneous notions, as to the multiplication of the people, which teach us to look upon the increases of the population beyond certain limits as the greatest possible evil that can befall a community. Population, it is said, multiplies itself in a geometrical ratio, whereas the produce of the land is increased only in arithmetical proportion; that is to say, while the people are augumented after the rate of—

 2 4 8 16 32 64 
the quantity of food for them can be extended only in the following degrees:—

 2 4 6 8 10 12 

The cause of this is said to be that, after a certain stage in the cultivation of the soil, the increase of the produce from land is not in proportion to the increase of labour devoted to it; that is to say, doubling the labour does not double the crop; and hence it is asserted that the human race increasing at a quicker rate than the food, insufficient sustenance must be the necessary lot


of a portion of the people in every denselypopu- lated community.

That men of intelligence and education should have been persuaded by so plausible a doctrine at the time of its promulgation may be readily conceived, for then the notions concerning organic chemistry were vague in the extreme, and the great universal law of Waste and Supply remained to be fully developed; but that men pretending to the least scientific knowledge should in these days be found advocating the Population Theory is only another of the many proofs of the indisposition of even the strongest minds to abandon their pet prejudices. Assuredly Malthus and Liebig are incompatible. If the new notions as to the chemistry of vegetation be true, then must the old notions as to population be utterly unfounded. If what we excrete plants secrete—if what we exhale they inspire—if our refuse is their food—then it follows that to increase the population is to increase the quantity of manure, while to increase the manure is to augment the food of plants, and consequently the plants themselves. If the plants nourish us, we at least nourish them. It seems never to have occurred to the economists that plants themselves required sustenance, and consequently they never troubled themselves to inquire whence they derived the elements of their growth. Had they done this they would never have even expected that a double quantity of mere labour upon the soil should have doubled the produce; but they would rather have seen that it was utterly impossible for the produce to be doubled without the food in the soil being doubled likewise; that is to say, they would have perceived that plants could not, whatever the labour exerted upon their cultivation, extract the elements of their organization from the earth and air, unless those elements previously existed in the land and atmosphere in which they grew, and that such elements, moreover, could not exist there without some organic being to egest them.

This doctrine of the universal Compensation extending throughout the material world, and more especially through the animal and vegetable kingdom, is, perhaps, of the grandest and most consoling that science has yet revealed to us, making each mutually dependent on the other, and so contributing each to the other's support. Moreover it is the more comforting, as enabling us almost to demonstrate the falsity of a creed which is opposed to every generous impulse of our nature, and which is utterly irreconcilable with the attributes of the Creator.

"Thanks to organic chemistry," I said years ago in the , "we are beginning to wake up. Science has taught us that the removal of the ordure of towns to the fields is a question that concerns not only our health, but, what is a far more important consideration with us, our breeches pockets. What we, in our ignorance, had mistaken for refuse of the vilest kind, we have now learned to regard as being, with reference to its fertilizing virtues, 'a precious ore, running in rich veins beneath the surface of our streets.' Whereas, if allowed to reek and seethe in cesspools within scent of our very hearths, or to pollute the water that we use to quench our thirst and cook our food, it becomes, like all wealth badly applied, converted into 'poison:' as Romeo says of gold to the apothecary—

Doing more murders in this loathsome world

Than those poor compounds which thou mayst not sell.

Formerly, in our cagerness to get rid of the pollution, we had literally not looked beyond our noses: hence our only care was to carry off the nuisance from the immediate vicinity of our own residences. It was no matter to us what became of it, so long as it did not taint the atmosphere around us. This the very instincts of our nature had made objectionable to us; so we laid down just as many drains and sewers as would carry our night-soil to the nearest stream; and thus, instead of poisoning the air that we breathed, we poisoned the water that we drank. Then, as the town extended—for cities, like mosaic work, are put together piecemeal—street being dovetailed to street, like county to county in our children's geographical puzzles—each new row of houses tailed on its drains to those of its neighbours, without any inquiry being made as to whether they were on the same level or not. The consequence of this is, that the sewers in many parts of our metropolis are subject to an ebb and flood like their central stream, so that the pollution which they remove at low-water, they regularly bring back at highwater to the very doors of the houses whence they carried it.

According to the average of the returns, from to , we are paying millions every year for guano, bone-dust, and other foreign fertilizers of our soil. In , we employed no fewer than ships to bring home tons of animal manure from Ichaboe alone; and yet we are every day emptying into the Thames tons of a substance which has been proved to be possessed of even greater fertilizing powers. With tons of the sewage that we are wont to regard as refuse, applied to the irrigation of acre of meadow land, crops, we are told, have been produced in the year, each of them worth from to ; so that, considering the produce to have been doubled by these means, we have an increase of upwards of per acre per annum effected by the application of that refuse to the surface of our fields. This return is at the rate of for every tons of sewage; and, since the total amount of refuse discharged into the Thames from the sewers of the metropolis is, in round numbers, tons per annum, it follows that, according to such estimate, we are positively wasting of money every year; or, rather, Or, granting that the fertilizing power of the metropolitan refuse is—as it is said to be—as great for arable as for pasturelands, then for every tons of manure that we now cast away, we might have an increase of at least bushels of corn per acre. Consequently the entire tons of sewage, if


applied to fatten the land instead of to poison the water, would, at such a rate of increase, swell our produce to the extent of bushels of wheat per annum. Calculating then that each of these bushels would yield quartern loaves, it would follow that we fling into the Thames no less than lbs. of bread every year; or, still worse, by pouring into the river that which, if spread upon our fields, would enable thousands to live, we convert the elements of life and health into the germs of disease and death, changing into slow but certain poisons that which, in the subtle transmutation of organic nature, would become acres of life-sustaining grain." I shall have more to say subsequently on this waste and its consequences.

These considerations show how vastly import- ant it is that in the best of all possible ways we should , and the scavengery and excrementitious matter of our streets and houses.

Now the removal of the refuse of London is no slight task, consisting, as it does, of the cleansing of miles of streets and roads; of collecting the dust from dust-bins; of emptying (according to the returns of the Board of Health) the same number of cesspools, and sweeping near upon chimneys.

A task so vast it might naturally be imagined would give employment to a number of hands, and yet, if we trusted the returns of the Occupation Abstract of , the whole of these stupendous operations are performed by a limited number of individuals.

   Total. Males. Females. 
   20 years and upwards. Under 20. 20 years and upwards. Under 20. 
 Chimney Sweepers . . . . . . 1033 619 370 44   
 Scavengers and Nightmen . . . 254 227 10 17   

I am informed by persons in the trade that the "females" here mentioned as chimney-sweepers, and scavengers, and nightmen, must be such widows or daughters of sweeps and nightmen as have succeeded to their businesses, for that no women at such trades; excepting, perhaps, in the management and care of the soot, in assisting to empty and fill the bags. Many females, however, are employed in sifting dust, but the calling of the dustman and dustwoman is not so much as noticed in the population returns.

According to the occupation abstract of the previous decennial period, the number of males of years and upwards (for none others were mentioned) pursuing the same callings in the metropolis in , were as follows:—

 Soot and chimney-sweepers . . . 421 
 Nightmen and scavengers . . . 130 

Hence the increase in the adult male operatives belonging to these trades, between and , was, for Chimney-sweeps, ; and Scavengers and Nightmen, .

But these returns are preposterously incorrect. In the place it was not until that the parliamentary enactment prohibiting the further employment of climbing-boys for the purpose of sweeping chimneys came into operation. At that time the number of inhabited houses in the metropolis was in round numbers , and calculating these to have contained only rooms each, there would have been at the least chimneys to sweep. Now, according to the government returns above cited—the London climbing-boys (for the masters did not and could not climb) in numbered only ; at which rate there would have been but boy to no less than chimneys! Pursuing the same mode of testing the validity of the "official" statements, we find, as the nightmen generally work in gangs of , that each of the , or say , gangs comprised in the census returns, would have had cesspools to empty of their contents; while, working both as scavengers and nightmen (for, according to the census, they were the individuals following those occupations in London), they would after their nocturnal labours have had about miles of streets and roads to cleanse—a feat which would certainly have thrown the scavengering prowess of Hercules into the shade.

Under the respective heads of the dustmen, nightmen, sweeps, and scavengers, I shall give an account of the numbers, &c., employed, and a resumá of the whole. It will be sufficient here to mention that my investigations lead to the conclusion that, of men working as dustmen (a portion of whom are employed as nightmen and scavengers) there are at present about in the metropolis. The census of , as I have pointed out, mentions no dustman whatever!

But I have so often had instances of the defects of this national numbering of the people that I have long since ceased to place much faith in its returns connected with the humbler grades of labour. The costermongers, for example, I estimate at about , whereas the government reports, as has been before mentioned, ignore the very existence of such a class of people, and make the entire hawkers, hucksters, and pedlars of the metropolis to amount to no more than . Again, the London "coal labourers, heavers, and porters" are said, in the census of , to be


only in number; I find, however, that there are no less than "registered" coal-whippers, and as many coal porters; so that I am in no way inclined to give great credence to the "official enumerations." The difficulties which beset the perfection of such a document are almost insuperable, and I have already heard of returns for the forthcoming document, made by ignorant people as to their occupations, which already go far to nullify the facts in connection with the employment of the ignorant and profligate classes of the metropolis.

Before quitting this part of the subject, viz., the extent of surface, the length of streets, and the number of houses throughout the metropolis requiring to be continually cleansed of their refuse, as well as the number of people as continually engaged in so cleansing them, let me here append the last returns of the Registrar General, copied from the census of , as to the dimensions and contents of the metropolis according to that functionary, so that they may be compared with those of the metropolitan police before given.

In Weale's "," which is by far the most comprehensive description of the metropolis that I have seen, it is stated that it is "only possible to adopt a general idea of the giant city," as its precise boundaries and extent cannot be defined. On the north of the Thames, we are told, London extends to Edmonton and Finchley; on the west it stretches to Acton and Hammersmith; on the east it reaches Leyton and Ham; while on the south of the Thames the metropolis is said to embrace Wandsworth, Streatham, Lewisham, Woolwich, and Plumstead. "To each of these points," says Mr. Weale, but upon what authority he does not inform us, "continuous streets of houses reach; but the solid mass of houses lies within narrow bounds—with these several long arms extending from it. The greatest length of street, from east to west," he adds, "is about miles, and from north to south about miles. The solid mass is about miles by miles, so that the ground covered with houses is not less than square miles."

Mr. McCulloch, in his "-," has a passage to the same effect. He says, "The continued and rapid increase of buildings renders it difficult to ascertain the extent of the metropolis at any particular period. If we include in it those parts only that present a solid mass of houses, its length from east to west may be taken at miles, and its breadth from north to south at about miles and a half. There is, however, a nearly continuous line of houses from to , a distance of about miles, and from to Holloway, of and a half miles. The extent of surface covered by buildings is estimated at about square miles, or above acres, so that M. Say, the celebrated French economist, did not really indulge in hyperbole when he said, '' (London is no longer a town: it is a province covered with houses)."

The Government authorities, however, appear to have very different notions from either of the above gentlemen as to the extent of the metropolis.

The limits of London, as at present laid down by the Registrar General, include parishes, besides several precincts, liberties, and extraparo- chial places, comprising altogether about square miles. According to the old bills of mortality, London formerly included only parishes, which were located as follows:—

 Parishes within the walls of the city . . 97 
 Parishes without the walls . . . . . 17 
 Parishes in the city and liberties of Westminster . . . . . . . . . . 10 
 Out parishes in Middlesex and Surrey . 24 

The parishes which have been annexed to the above at different periods since the commencement of the present century are:—

 Parishes added by the late Mr. Rickman (see Pop. Abstracts, 1801-31) (including Chelsea, Kensington, Paddington, St. Marylebone, and St. Pancras) . . . . 5 
 Parishes added by the Registrar General, 1838 (including Hammersmith, Fulham, Stoke Newington, Stratford-le-Bow, Bromley, Camberwell, Deptford, Greenwich, and Woolwich) . . . . . . . . . . 10 
 Parishes added by the Registrar General in 1844 (including Clapham, Battersea, Wandsworth, Putney, Lower Tooting, and Streatham) . . . . . . . . . . 6 
 Parishes added by the Registrar General in 1846 (comprising Hampstead, Charlton, Plumstead, Eltham, Lee, Kidbroke, and Lewisham) . . . . . . . . . . 7 
 Total number of parishes in the metropolis, as defined by the Registrar General . . 176 

The extent of London, according to the limits assigned to it at the several periods above mentioned, was—

   Stat. Acres. Sq. miles. 
 London within the old bills of mortality, from 1726 . 21,080 32 
 London, within the limits adopted by the late Mr. Rickman, 1801-31 . . 29,850 46 
 London, within the limits adopted by the Registrar General, 1838-43 . . 44,850 70 
 London, within the limits adopted by the Registrar General, 1844-46 . . 55,650 87 
 London, within the limits adopted by the Registrar General in 1847-51 . . 74,070 115 

"London," observes Mr. Weale, "has now swallowed up many cities, towns, villages, and separate jurisdictions. The commonwealths, or kingdoms, of the Middle Saxons, East Saxons, the South Rick, and the Kentwaras, once ruled over


its surface. It now embraces the episcopal cities of London and , the towns of Woolwich, Deptford, and Wandsworth, the watering places of Hampstead, Highgate, , Acton, and Kilburn, the fishing town of Barking, the once secluded and ancient villages of Ham, Hornsey, Sydenham, Lee, Kensington, Fulham, , Clapham, Paddington, Hackney, , Stoke , , Plumstead, and many others.

The parishes now included by the Registrar General within the boundaries of the metropolis, are arranged by him into districts, of which the areas, population, and number of inhabited houses were on the , as undermentioned:—

 DIVISIONS OF METROPOLIS. Statute Acres. Population. Inhabited Houses. 
 1841. 1851. 1841. 1851. 
 WEST DISTRICTS.           
 Kensington . . . . 7,860 74,898 119,990 10,962 17,292 
 Chelsea . . . . . 780 40,243 56,543 5,648 7,629 
 St. George's, Hanover-square . 1,090 66,657 73,207 7,630 8,795 
 Westminster . . . . 840 56,802 65,609 6,439 6,647 
 St. Martin's-in-the-Fields . . 260 25,132 24,557 2,439 2,323 
 St. James's, Westminster . . 165 37,457 36,426 3,590 3,460 
 NORTH DISTRICTS.           
 Marylebone . . . . 1,490 138,383 157,679 14,169 15,955 
 Hampstead (added 1846) . . 2,070 10,109 11,986 1,411 1,719 
 Pancras . . . . . 2,600 129,969 167,198 14,766 18,731 
 Islington . . . . . 3,050 55,779 95,154 8,508 13,558 
 Hackney . . . . . 3,950 42,328 58,424 7,192 9,861 
 St. Giles's . . . . . 250 54,378 54,062 4,959 4,778 
 Strand . . . . . 163 43,667 44,446 4,327 3,938 
 Holborn . . . . . 188 44,532 46,571 4,603 4,517 
 Clerkenwell . . . . 320 56,799 64,705 6,946 7,259 
 St. Luke's . . . . . 240 49,908 54,058 6,385 6,421 
 East London . . . . The area here stated is that of the city without the walls, and includes White Friars precinct and Holy Trinity, Minories, both belonging to other districts.230 39,718 44,407 4,796 4,785 
 West London . . . . 29,188 28,829 3,010 2,745 
 London, City of . . . . This area is that of the city within the walls, and does not include White Friars, which belongs to the district.370 56,009 55,908 7,921 7,329 
 EAST DISTRICTS.           
 Shoreditch . . . . . 620 83,564 109,209 12,642 15,433 
 Bethnal Green . . . . 760 74,206 90,170 11,782 13,370 
 Whitechapel . . . . 316 71,879 79,756 8,834 8,832 
 St. George's in the East . . 230 41,416 48,375 5,985 6,151 
 Stepney . . . . . 2,518 90,831 110,669 14,364 16,346 
 Poplar . . . . . 1,250 31,171 47,157 5,066 6,882 
 SOUTH DISTRICTS.           
 St. Saviour's, Southwark . . The area of the districts of St. Saviour and St. Olave is included in that returned for St. George, Southwark. 33,027 35,729 4,659 4,613 
 St. Olave's, Southwark. . . The area of the districts of St. Saviour and St. Olave is included in that returned for St. George, Southwark. 19,869 19,367 2,523 2,365 
 Bermondsey . . . . 620 35,002 48,128 5,674 7,095 
 St. George's, Southwark . . The area of the districts of St. Saviour and St. Olave is included in that returned for St. George, Southwark.590 46,718 51,825 6,663 7,005 
 Newington . . . . . 630 54,693 64,805 9,370 10,468 
 Lambeth . . . . . 3,640 116,072 139,240 17,791 20,520 
 Wandsworth (added 1843) . . 10,800 39,918 50,770 6,459 8,290 
 Camberwell . . . . 4,570 39,931 54,668 6,843 9,417 
 Rotherhithe . . . . 690 13,940 17,778 2,420 2,834 
 Greenwich . . . . . 4,570 81,125 99,404 11,995 14,423 
 Lewisham (added 1846) . . 16,350 23,051 34,831 3,966 5,936 
 Total London Division . . 74,070 1,948,369 2,361,640 262,737 307,722 



In order to be able to compare the average density of the population in the various parts of London, I have made a calculation as to the number of persons and houses to the acre, as well as the number of inhabitants to each house. I have also computed the annual rate of increase of the population from -, in the several localities here mentioned, and append the result. It will be seen that, while what are popularly known as the suburbs have increased, both in houses and population, at a considerable rate, some of the more central parts of London, on the contrary, have decreased not only in the number of people, but in the number of dwellings as well. This has been the case in St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, St. James's, , St. Giles's, and the City of London.

   Yearly Increase of Population per annum, from 1841-51. Yearly Increase of Inhabited Houses, from 1841-51. Number of People to the Acre, 1851. Number of Inhabited Houses to the Acre, 1851. Number of Persons to each House, 1851. 
 WEST DISTRICTS.           
 Kensington . . . . 4,509.2 633.0 15.2 2.2 6.9 
 Chelsea . . . . . 1,630.0 198.1 72.4 9.7 7.4 
 St. George's, Hanover-square . 655.0 11.6 67.1 8.0 8.3 
 Westminster . . . . 880.7 20.8 80.4 8.2 9.8 
 St. Martin's-in-the-Fields . . 57.5The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 11.6The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 94.3 8.9 10.5 
 St. James's, Westminster . . 103.1The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 13.0The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 220.7 20.9 10.5 
 NORTH DISTRICTS.           
 Marylebone . . . . 1,926.6 178.6 105.8 10.3 9.8 
 Hampstead. . . . . 187.7 30.8 5.7 .8 6.9 
 St. Pancras. . . . . 3,722.9 396.5 64.3 7.2 8.9 
 Islington . . . . . 3,937.5 505.0 31.5 4.4 7.0 
 Hackney . . . . . 1,609.6 719.2 14.7 2.3 5.9 
 St. Giles's . . . . . 31.6The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 18.1 216.2 19.1 11.3 
 Strand . . . . . 77.9 38.9The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 272.2 24.1 11.2 
 Holborn . . . . . 203.9 8.6The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 247.7 24.0 10.3 
 Clerkenwell . . . . 790.6 31.3 202.2 22.6 8.9 
 St. Luke's . . . . . 415.0 3.6 225.2 26.7 8.4 
 East and West London . . 433.0 27.6The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 318.4 32.7 9.7 
 London City . . . . 10.1 59.2The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 151.0 19.8 7.6 
 EAST DISTRICTS.           
 Shoreditch . . . . . 2,564.5 279.1 176.1 24.8 7.0 
 Bethnal-green . . . . 1,596.4 158.8 118.6 17.5 6.7 
 Whitechapel . . . . 787.7 .2The population and number of inhabited houses in these districts has decreased annually to this extent since 1841. 252.3 27.9 9.0 
 St. George's-in-the-East . . 695.9 16.6 210.3 26.7 7.8 
 Stepney . . . . . 1,983.8 198.2 43.9 6.4 6.7 
 Poplar . . . . . 1,598.6 181.6 37.7 5.5 6.8 
 SOUTH DISTRICTS.           
 St. Saviour's, St. Olave's, and St. George's, Southwark . . 730.7 13.8 181.2 23.7 7.6 
 Bermondsey . . . . 1,312.6 142.1 77.6 11.2 6.7 
 Newington . . . . 1,011.2 109.8 102.8 16.6 6.1 
 Lambeth . . . . . 2,316.8 272.9 38.2 5.6 6.7 
 Wandsworth . . . . 1,085.2 183.1 4.7 .7 6.1 
 Camberwell . . . . 1,473.7 257.4 12.4 2.0 5.8 
 Rotherhithe . . . . 383.8 41.4 25.7 4.1 6.2 
 Greenwich . . . . 1,827.9 242.8 21.7 3.1 6.8 
 Lewisham . . . . . 1,178.0 197.0 2.1 .3 5.6 
 Total for all London . . 41,327.1 4,498.5 31.8 4.1 7.6 



By the above table we perceive that St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, St. James's, , St. Giles's, the Strand, and the City have all decreased both in population and houses since . The population has diminished most of all in St. James's, and the houses the most in the City. The suburban districts, however, such as , Marylebone, , , Hackney, , Bethnal-green, Stepney, Poplar, , , , Wandsworth, Camberwell, Greenwich, and Lewisham, have all increased greatly within the last years, both in dwellings and people. The greatest increase of the population, as well as houses, has been in Kensington, where the yearly addition has been people, and houses.

The more densely-populated districts are, St. James's, , St. Giles's, the Strand, , Clerkenwell, St. Luke, Whitechapel, and St. George's-in-the-East, in all of which places there are upwards of people to the acre, while in East and West London, in which the population is the most dense of all, the number of people exceeds to the acre. The least densely populated districts are Hampstead, Wandsworth, and Lewisham, where the people are not more than , and as few as to the acre.

The districts in which there are the greatest number of houses to a given space, are St. James's, , the Strand, , Clerkenwell, St. Luke's, , and St. George's-in-the-East, in all of which localities there are upwards of dwellings to each acre of ground, while in East and West London, which is the most closely built over of all, the number of houses to each acre are as many as . Hampstead and Lewisham appear to be the most open districts; for there the houses are not more than and to every acres of ground.

The localities in which the houses are the most crowded with inmates are the Strand and St. Giles's, where there are more than people to each house, and St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, and St. James's, , and , where each house has on an average inmates, while in Lewisham and Wandsworth the houses are the least crowded, for there we find only people to every house.

Now, comparing this return with that of the metropolitan police, we have the following results as to the extent and contents of the Metropolis Proper:—

   According to Registrar General. According to Metropolitan Police. 
 Area (in statute acres) . 74,070 58,880 
 Parishes . . . . . 176 179 
 Number of inhabited houses . . . . 307,722 305,525 
 Population . . . . . 2,361,640 2,111,629 

Hence it will be seen that both the extent and contents of these returns differ most materially.

. The superficies of the Registrar General's metropolis is very nearly square miles, or statute acres, greater than the metropolis of the police commissioners.

. The number of inhabited houses is more in the than in the other.

. The population of London, according to the Registrar General's limits, is , or a quarter of a million, more than it is according to the limits of the metropolitan police.

It were much to be desired that some more definite and scientific mode, not only of limiting, but of dividing the metropolis, were to be adopted. At present there are, perhaps, as many different metropolises, so to speak, and as many different modes of apportioning the several parts of the whole into districts, as there are public bodies whose operations are specially confined to the capital. The Registrar General has, as we have seen, metropolis divided into western, northern, central, eastern, and southern districts. The metropolitan police commissioners have another metropolis apportioned into its A divisions, B divisions, and so forth; and the has a metropolis parcelled out in a totally different manner; while the London City Mission, the Scripture Readers, the Ragged Schools, and the many other similar metropolitan institutions, all seem to delight in creating a distinct metropolis for themselves, thus tending to make the statistical "confusion worse confounded."

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 Title Page
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions and Natural Curiosities
Of the Street-Buyers
Of the Street-Jews
Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
Of the Streets of London
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Sweepers of Old, and the Climbing Boys
Of the Chimney-Sweepers of the Present Day
Of the General Characteristics of the Working Chimney-Sweepers
Sweeping of the Chimneys of Steam-Vessels
Of the 'Ramoneur' Company
Of the Brisk and Slack Seasons, and the Casual Trade among the Chimney- Sweepers
Of the 'Leeks' Among the Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Inferior Chimney-Sweepers -- the 'Knullers' and 'Queriers'
Of the Fires of London
Of the Sewermen and Nightmen of London
Of the Wet House-Refuse of London
Of the Means of Removing the Wet House-Refuse
Of the Quantity of Metropolitan Sewage
Of Ancient Sewers
Of the Kinds and Characteristics of Sewers
Of the Subterranean Character of the Sewers
Of the House-Drainage of the Metropolis as Connected With the Sewers
Of the London Street-Drains
Of the Length of the London Sewers and Drains
Of the Cost of Constructing the Sewers and Drains of the Metropolis
Of the Uses of Sewers as a Means of Subsoil Drainage
Of the City Sewerage
Of the Outlets, Ramifications, Etc., of the Sewers
Of the Qualities, Etc., of the Sewage
Of the New Plan of Sewerage
Of the Management of the Sewers and the Late Commissions
Of the Powers and Authority of the Present Commissions of Sewers
Of the Sewers Rate
Of the Cleansing of the Sewers -- Ventilation
Of 'Flushing' and 'Plonging,' and Other Modes of Washing the Sewers
Of the Working Flushermen
Of the Rats in the Sewers
Of the Cesspoolage and Nightmen of the Metropolis
Of the Cesspool System of London
Of the Cesspool and Sewer System of Paris
Of the Emptying of the London Cesspools by Pump and Hose
Statement of a Cesspool-Sewerman
Of the Present Disposal of the Night-Soil
Of the Working Nightmen and the Mode of Work