London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Scurf Trade among the Rubbish- Carters.

Before proceeding to treat of the cheap or "scurf" labourers among the rubbish-carters, I shall do as I have done in connection with the casual labourers of the same trade, say a few words on that kind of labour in general, both as to the means by which it is usually obtained and as to the distinctive qualities of the scurf or lowpriced labourers; for experience teaches me that the mode by which labour is cheapened is more or less similar in all trades, and it will therefore save much time and space if I here—as with the casual labourers—give the general facts in connection with this part of my subject.

In the place, then, there are but direct modes of cheapening labour, viz.:—

. By making the workmen do work for the pay.

. By making them do the work for pay.

The of these modes is what is technically termed "," especially when effected by compulsory "overwork;" and it is called the "economy of labour" when brought about by more elaborate and refined processes, such as the division of labour, the large system of production, the invention


of machinery, and the , as contradistinguished from the , mode of hiring.

Each of these modes of making workmen do work for the pay, can but have the same depressing effect on the labour market, for not only is the of remuneration (or ratio of the work to the pay) reduced when the operative is made to do a greater quantity of work for the same amount of money, but, unless the means of disposing of the extra products be proportionately increased, it is evident that just as many workmen must be displaced thereby as the increased term or rate of working exceeds the extension of the markets; that is to say, if workpeople be made to produce each twice as much as formerly (either by extending the hours of labour or increasing their rate of labouring), then if the markets or means of disposing of the extra products be increased only -half, hands must, according to Cocker, be deprived of their ordinary employment; and these competing with those who are in work will immediately tend to reduce the wages of the trade generally, so that not only will the of wages be decreased, since each will have more work to do, but the actual earnings of the workmen will be diminished likewise.

Of the economy of labour itself, as a means of cheapening work, there is no necessity for me to speak here. It is, indeed, generally admitted, that to economize labour without proportionally extending the markets for the products of such labour, is to deprive a certain number of workmen of their ordinary means of living; and under the head of casual labour so many instances have been given of this principle that it would be wearisome to the reader were I to do other than allude to the matter at present. There are, however, several other means of causing a workman to do more than his ordinary quantity of work. These are:—

. By extra supervision when the workmen are paid by the day. Of this mode of increased production an instance has already been cited in the account of the strapping-shops given at p. , vol. ii.

. By increasing the workman's interest in his work; as in piece-work, where the payment of the operative is made proportional to the quantity of work done by him. Of this mode examples have already been given at p. , vol. ii.

. By large quantities of work given out at time; as in "lump-work" and "contract work."

. By the domestic system of work, or giving out materials to be made up at the homes of the workpeople.

. By the middleman system of labour.

. By the prevalence of small masters.

. By a reduced rate of pay, as forcing operatives to labour both longer and quicker, in order to make up the same amount of income.

Of several of these modes of work I have already spoken, citing facts as to their perniclous influence upon the greater portion of those trades where they are found to prevail. I have already shown how, by extra supervision—by increased interest in the work—as well as by decreased pay, operatives can be made to do more work than they otherwise would, and so be the cause, unless the market be proportionately extended, of depriving some of their fellow-labourers of their fair share of employment. It now only remains for me to set forth the effect of those modes of employment which have not yet been described, viz., the domestic system, the middleman system, and the contract and lump system, as well as the smallmaster system of work.

Let me begin with the of the lastmen- tioned modes of cheapening labour, viz.,

I find, by investigation, that in trades where the system of working on the master's premises has been departed from, and a man is allowed to take his work home, there is invariably a tendency to cheapen labour. These home workers, whenever opportunity offers, will use other men's ill-paid labour, or else employ the members of their family to enhance their own profits.

The domestic system, moreover, naturally induces When the work is executed off the master's premises, of course there are neither definite hours nor days for labour; and the consequence is, the generality of home workers labour early and late, Sundays as well as week-days, availing themselves at the same time of the co-operation of their wives and children; thus the trade becomes overstocked with workpeople by the introduction of a vast number of new hands into it, as well as by the overwork of the men themselves who thus obtain employment. When I was among the tailors, I received from a journeyman to whom I was referred by the Trades' Society as the best able to explain the causes of the decline of that trade, the following lucid account of the evils of this system of labour:—

The principal cause of the decline of our trade is the employment given to workmen at their own homes, or, in other words, to the 'sweaters.' The sweater is the greatest evil in the trade; as the sweating system increases the number of hands to an almost incredible extent— wives, sons, daughters, and extra women, all working 'long days'—that is, labouring from sixteen to eighteen hours per day, and Sundays as well. By this system two men obtain as much work as would give employment to three or four men working regular hours in the shop. Consequently, the sweater being enabled to get the work done by women and children at a lower price than the regular workman, obtains the greater part of the garments to be made, while men who depend upon the shop for their living are obliged to walk about idle. A greater quantity of work is done under the sweating system at a lower price. I consider that the decline of my trade dates from the change of day-work into piece-work. According to the old system, the journeyman was paid by the day, and consequently must have done his work under the eye of his employer. It is true that work was given out by the master before the change from daywork to piece-work was regularly acknowledged in the trade. But still it was morally impossible for work to be given out and not be paid by the piece. Hence I date the decrease in the wages of the workman from the introduction of piece-work, and giving out garments to be made off the premises of the master. The effect of this was, that the workman making the garment, knowing that the master could not tell whom he got to do his work for him, employed women and children to help him, and paid them little or nothing for their labour. This was the beginning of the sweating system. The workmen gradually became transformed from journeymen into 'middlemen,' living by the labour of others. Employers soon began to find that they could get garments made at a less sum than the regular price, and those tradesmen who were anxious to force their trade, by underselling their more honourable neighbours, readily availed themselves of this means of obtaining cheap labour.

The is so much akin to the domestic system, of which, indeed, it is but a necessary result, that it forms a natural addendum to the above. Of this indirect mode of employing workmen, I said, in the , when treating of the timber-porters at the docks:—

The middleman system is the one crying evil of the day. Whether he goes by the name of 'sweater,' 'chamber-master,' 'lumper,' or contractor, it is this trading operative who is the great means of reducing the wages of his fellow working-men. To make a profit out of the employment of his brother operatives he must, of course, obtain a lower class and, consequently, cheaper labour. Hence it becomes a business with him to hunt out the lowest grades of working men—that is to say, those who are either morally or intellectually inferior in the craft—the drunken, the dishonest, the idle, the vagabond, and the unskilful; these are the instruments that he seeks for, because, these being unable to obtain employment at the regular wages of the sober, honest, industrious, and skilful portion of the trade, he can obtain their labour at a lower rate than what is usually paid. Hence drunkards, tramps, men without character or station, apprentices, children—all suit him. Indeed, the more degraded the labourers, the better they answer his purpose, for the cheaper he can get their work, and consequently the more he can make out of it.

'Boy labour or thief labour,' said a middleman, on a large scale, to me, 'what do I care, so long as I can get my work done cheap?' That this seeking out of cheap and inferior labour really takes place, and is a necessary consequence of the middleman system, we have merely to look into the condition of any trade where it is extensively pursued. I have shown, in my account of the tailors' trade printed in the Chronicle, that the wives of the sweaters not only parade the streets of London on the look-out for youths raw from the country, but that they make periodical trips to the poorest provinces of Ireland, in order to obtain workmen at the lowest possible rate. I have shown, moreover, that foreigners are annually imported from the Continent for the same purpose, and that among the chamber-masters in the shoe trade, the childmarket at Bethnal-green, as well as the workhouses, are continually ransacked for the means of obtaining a cheaper kind of labour. All my investigations go to prove, that it is chiefly by means of this middleman system that the wages of the working men are reduced. It is this contractor—this trading operative—who is invariably the prime mover in the reduction of the wages of his fellow-workmen. He uses the most degraded of the class as a means of underselling the worthy and skilful labourers, and of ultimately dragging the better down to the abasement of the worst. He cares not whether the trade to which he belongs is already overstocked with hands, for, be those hands as many as they may, and the ordinary wages of his craft down to bare subsistence point, it matters not a jot to him; he can live solely by reducing them still lower, and so he immediately sets about drafting or importing a fresh and cheaper stock into the trade. If men cannot subsist on lower prices, then he takes apprentices, or hires children; if women of chastity cannot afford to labour at the price he gives, then he has recourse to prostitutes; or if workmen of character and worth refuse to work at less than the ordinary rate, then he seeks out the moral refuse of the trade—those whom none else will employ; or else he flies, to find labour meet for his purpose, to the workhouse and the gaol. Backed by this cheap and refuse labour, he offers his work at lower prices, and so keeps on reducing and reducing the wages of his brethren, until all sink in poverty, wretchedness, and vice. Go where we will, look into whatever poorly-paid craft we please, we shall find this trading operative, this middleman or contractor, at the bottom of the degradation.

The "contract system" or "lump work," as it is called, is but a corollary, as it were, of the foregoing; for it is an essential part of the middleman system, that the work should be obtained by the trading operative in large quantities, so that those upon whose labour he lives should be kept continually occupied, and the more, of course, that he can obtain work for, the greater his profit. When a quantity of work, usually paid for by the piece, is given out at time, the natural tendency is for the piece-work to pass into lump-work; that is to say, if there be in a trade a number of distinct parts, each requiring, perhaps, from the division of labour, a distinct hand for the execution of it, or if each of these parts bear a different price, it is frequently the case that the master will contract with some workman for the execution of the whole, agreeing to give a certain price for the job "in the lump," and allowing the workman to get whom he pleases to execute it. This is the case with the piece-working masters in the coachbuild- ing trade; but it is not essential to the contract or


lump system of work, that other hands should be employed; the main distinction between it and piece-work being that the work is given out in large quantities, and a certain allowance or reduction of price effected from that cause alone.

It is this contract or lump work which constitutes the great evil of the carpenter's, as well as of many other trades; and as in those crafts, so in this, we find that the lower the wages are reduced the greater becomes the number of trading operatives or middlemen. For it is when workmen find the difficulty of living by their labour increased that they take to scheming and trading upon the labour of their fellows. In the slop trade, where the pay is the worst, these creatures abound the most; and so in the carpenter's trade, where the wages are the lowest—as among the speculative builders—there the system of contracting and sub-contracting is found in full force.

Of this contract or lump work, I received the following account from the foreman to a large speculating builder, when I was inquiring into the condition of the London carpenters:—

The way in which the work is done is mostly by letting and subletting. The masters usually prefer to let work, because it takes all the trouble off their hands. They know what they are to get for the job, and of course they let it as much under that figure as they possibly can, all of which is clear gain without the least trouble. How the work is done, or by whom, it's no matter to them, so long as they can make what they want out of the job, and have no bother about it. Some of our largest builders are taking to this plan, and a party who used to have one of the largest shops in London has within the last three years discharged all the men in his employ (he had 200 at least), and has now merely an office, and none but clerks and accountants in his pay. He has taken to letting his work out instead of doing it at home. The parties to whom the work is let by the speculating builders are generally working men, and these men in their turn look out for other working men, who will take the job cheaper than they will; and so I leave you, sir, and the public to judge what the party who really executes the work gets for his labour, and what is the quality of work that he is likely to put into it. The speculating builder generally employs an overlooker to see that the work is done sufficiently well to pass the surveyor. That's all he cares about. Whether it's done by thieves, or drunkards, or boys, it's no matter to him. The overlooker, of course, sees after the first party to whom the work is let, and this party in his turn looks after the several hands that he has sublet it to. The first man who agrees to the job takes it in the lump, and he again lets it to others in the piece. I have known instances of its having been let again a third time, but this is not usual. The party who takes the job in the lump from the speculator usually employs a foreman, whose duty it is to give out the materials and to make working drawings. The men to whom it is sublet only find labour, while the 'lumper,' or first con- tractor, agrees for both labour and materials. It is usual in contract work, for the first party who takes the job to be bound in a large sum for the due and faithful performance of his contract. He then, in his turn, finds out a sub-contractor, who is mostly a small builder, who will also bind himself that the work shall be properly executed, and there the binding ceases—those parties to whom the job is afterwards let, or sublet, employing foremen or overlookers to see that their contract is carried out. The first contractor has scarcely any trouble whatsoever; he merely engages a gentleman, who rides about in a gig, to see that what is done is likely to pass muster. The sub-contractor has a little more trouble; and so it goes on as it gets down and down. Of course I need not tell you that the first contractor, who does the least of all, gets the most of all; while the poor wretch of a working man, who positively executes the job, is obliged to slave away every hour, night after night, to get a bare living out of it; and this is the contract system.

A tradesman, or a speculator, will contract, for a certain sum, to complete the skeleton of a house, and render it fit for habitation. He will sublet the flooring to some working joiner, who will, in very many cases, take it on such terms as to allow himself, by working early and late, the regular journeymen's wages of a week, or perhaps rather more. Now this sub-contractor cannot complete the work within the requisite time by his own unaided industry, and he employs men to assist him, often subletting again, and such assistant men will earn perhaps but a day. It is the same with the doors, the staircases, the balustrades, the window-frames, the roomskirt- ings, the closets; in short, all parts of the building.

The subletting is accomplished without difficulty. Old men are sometimes employed in such work, and will be glad of any remuneration to escape the workhouse; while stronger workmen are usually sanguine that by extra exertion, "though the figure is low, they may make a tidy thing out of it after all." In this way labour is cheapened. "Lump" work, "piece" work, work by "the job," are all portions of the contract system. The principle is the same. "Here is this work to be done, what will you undertake to do it for?"

In number after number of the will be found statements headed "Blind Builders." firm, responding to an advertisement for "estimates" of the building of a church, sends in an offer to execute the work in the best style for Another firm may offer to do it for somewhere about The -mentioned firm would do the work well, paying the "honourable" rate of wages. The under-working firm resort to the scamping and subletting system I have alluded to. It appears that the building of churches and chapels, of all denominations, is of the greatest encouragement to slop, or scamp, or under-paid work. The same system prevails in many trades with equally pernicious effects.

If you will allow me," says a correspondent, "I would state that there is one cause of hardship and suffering to the labouring or handicraftsman, which, to my mind, is far more productive of distress and poor-grinding than any other, or than all other causes put together: I allude to the contract system, and especially in reference to printing. Depend upon it, sir, the father of wickedness himself could not devise a more malevolent or dishonest course than that now very generally pursued by those who should be, of all others, the friends of the poor and working man. The Government and the great West-end clubs have reduced their transactions to such a low level in this respect that it seems to be the only question with them, Who will work lowest or supply goods at the lowest figure? And this, too, totally irrespective of the circumstance whether it may not reduce wages or bankrupt the contractor. No matter whether a party who has executed the work required for years be noted for paying a fair and remunerating price to his workmen or sub-tradesmen, and bears the character of a responsible and trustworthy man—all this is as nothing; for somebody, who may be, for aught that is cared, deficient in all these points, will do what is needful at so much less; and then, unless willing to reduce the wage of his workpeople, the long-employed tradesman has but the alternative of losing his business or cheating his creditors. And then, to give a smack to the whole affair, the 'Stationery Office' of the Government, or the committee of the club, will congratulate themselves and their auditors on the fact that a diminution in expenses has been effected; a result commemorated perhaps by an addition of salary to the officials in the former case, and of a 'cordial vote of thanks' in the latter. I do not write 'without book,' I can assure you, on these matters; for I have long and earnestly watched the subject, and could fill many a page with the details.

Of the ruinous effects of the contract system in connection with the army clothing, Mr. Pearse, the army clothier, gave the following evidence before the Select Committee on Army and Navy Appointments.

When the contract for soldier's great coats was opened, Mr. Maberly took it at the same price (13s.) in December, 1808; this shows the effect of wild competition. In February following, Esdailes' house, who were accoutrement makers, and not clothiers, got knowledge of what was Mr. Maberly's price, and they tendered at 12s. 6 1/2d. a month afterwards; it was evidently then a struggle for the price, and how the quality the least good (if we may use such a term) could pass. Mr. Maberly did not like to be outbidden by Esdailes; Esdailes stopped subsequently, and Mr. Maberly bid 12s. 6d. three months after, and Mr. Dixon bid again, and got the contract for 11s. 3d. in October, and in December of that year another public tender took place, and Messrs. A. and D. Cock took it at 11s. 5 1/2d., and they subsequently broke. It went on in this sort of way,—changing hands every two or every three months, by bidding against each other. Presently, though it was calculated that the great coat was to wear four years, it was found that those great coats were so inferior in quality, that they wore only two years, and representations were accordingly made to the Commander-in-Chief, when it was found necessary that great care should be taken to go back to the original good quality that had been established by the Duke of York.

Mr. Shaw, another army clothier, and a gentleman with whose friendship, I am proud to say, I have been honoured since the commencement of my inquiries—a gentleman actuated by the most kindly and Christian impulses, and of whom the workpeople speak in terms of the highest admiration and regard; this gentleman, impressed with a deep sense of the evils of the contract system to the under-paid and over-worked operatives of his trade, addressed a letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates, from which the following are extracts:—

My Lord, my object more particularly is, to request your lordship will submit to the committee, as an evidence of the evils of contracts, the great coat sent herewith, made similar to those supplied to the army, and I would respectfully appeal to them as men, gentlemen, as Christians, whether fivepence, the price now being given to poor females for making up those coats, is a fair and just price for six, seven, and eight hours' work. . . . My Lord, the misery amongst the workpeople is most distressing—of a mass of people, willing to work, who cannot obtain it, and of a mass, especially women, most iniquitously paid for their labour, who are in a state of oppression disgraceful to the Legislature, the Government, the Church, and the consuming public. . . . . I would, therefore, most humbly and earnestly call upon your lordship, and the other members of the committee, to recommend an immediate stop to be put to the system of contracting now pursued by the different government departments, as being one of false economy, as a system most oppressive to the poor, and being most injurious, in every way, to the best interests of the country.

In another place the same excellent gentleman says:—

I could refer to the screwing down of other things by the government authorities, but the above will be sufficient to show how cruelly the workpeople employed in making up this clothing are oppressed; and some of the men will tell you they are tired of life. Last week I found one man making a country police coat, who said his wife and child were out begging.

The last mentioned of the several modes of cheapening labour is the "" of work, that is to say, the operatives taking to make up materials on their own account rather than for capitalist employers. In every trade where there are masters, trades into which it requires but little capital to embark, there is certain to be a cheapening of labour. Such a man works himself, and to get work, to meet the exigences of the rent and the demands of the collectors of the parliamentary and parochial taxes, he will often underwork the very journeymen whom he occasionally employs, doing "the job" in such


cases with the assistance of his family and apprentices, at a less rate of profit than the amount of journeymen's wages.

Concerning these garret masters I said, when treating of the Cabinet trade, in the , "The cause of the extraordinary decline of wages in the Cabinet trade (even though the hands decreased and the work increased to an unprecedented extent) will be found to consist in the increase that has taken place within the last years of what are called 'garret masters' in the cabinet trade. These garret masters are a class of small 'trade-working masters,' the same as the 'chamber masters' in the shoe trade, supplying both capital and labour. They are in manufacture what 'the peasant proprietors' are in agriculture—their own employers and their own workmen. There is, however, this ed distinction between the classes—the garret master cannot, like the peasant proprietor, what he produces; the consequence is, that he is obliged to convert each article into food immediately he manufactures it—no matter what the state of the market may be. The capital of the garret master being generally sufficient to find him in materials for the manufacture of only article at a time, and his savings being but barely enough for his subsistence while he is engaged in putting those materials together, he is compelled, the moment the work is completed, to part with it for whatever he can get. He cannot afford to keep it even a day, for to do so is generally to remain a day unfed. Hence, if the market be at all slack, he has to force a sale by offering his goods at the lowest possible price. What wonder, then, that the necessities of such a class of individuals should have created a special race of employers, known by the significant name of 'slaughter-house men'—or that these, being aware of the inability of the 'garret masters' to hold out against any offer, no matter how slight a remuneration it affords for their labour, should continually lower and lower their prices, until the entire body of the competitive portion of the cabinet trade is sunk in utter destitution and misery? Moreover, it is well known how strong is the stimulus among peasant proprietors, or, indeed, any class working for themselves, to extra production. So it is, indeed, with the garret masters; their industry is almost incessant, and hence a greater quantity of work is turned out by them, and continually forced into the market, than there would otherwise be. What though there be a brisk and a slack season in the cabinet-maker's trade as in the majority of others?—slack or brisk, the garret masters' must produce the same excessive quantity of goods. In the hope of extricating himself from his overwhelming poverty, he toils on, producing more and more—and yet the more he produces the more hopeless does his position become; for the greater the stock that he thrusts into the market, the lower does the price of his labour fall, until at last, he and his whole family work for less than half what he himself could earn a few years back by his own unaided labour."

The small-master system of work leads, like the domestic system, with which, indeed, it is inti- mately connected, to the employment of wives, children, and apprentices, as a means of assistance and extra production—for as the prices decline so do the small masters strive by further labour to compensate for their loss of income.

Such, then, are the several modes of work by which labour is cheapened. There are, as we have seen, but ways of effecting this, viz., by making men do more work for the same pay, and secondly, by making them do the same work for less pay. The way in which men are made to do more, it has been pointed out, is, by causing them either to work longer or quicker, or else by employing fewer hands in proportion to the work; or engaging them only for such time as their services are required, and discharging them immediately afterwards. These constitute the several modes of economizing labour, which lowers the rate of remuneration (the ratio of the pay to the work) rather than the pay itself. The several means by which this result is attained are termed "systems of work, production, or engagement," and such are those above detailed.

Now it is a necessity of these several systems, though the actual amount of remuneration is not directly reduced by them, that a cheaper labour should be obtained for carrying them out. Thus, in contract or lump work, perhaps, the price may not be immediately lowered; the saving to the employer consisting chiefly in supervision, he having in such a case only man to look to instead of perhaps a . The contractor, or lumper, however, is differently situated; he, in order to reap any benefit from the contract, must, since he cannot do the whole work himself, employ others to help him, and to reap any benefit from the contract, this of course must be done at a lower price than he himself receives; so it is with the middleman system, where a profit is derived from the labour of other operatives; so, again, with the domestic system of work, where the several members of the family, or cheaper labourers, are generally employed as assistants; and even so is it with the small-master system, where the labour of apprentices and wives and children is the principal means of help. Hence the operatives adopting these several systems of work are rather the instruments by which cheap labour is obtained than the cheap labourers themselves. It is true that a sweater, a chamber master, or garret master, a lumper or contractor, or a home worker, generally works cheaper than the ordinary operatives, but this he does chiefly by the cheap labourers he employs, and then, finding that he is able to underwork the rest of the trade, and that the more hands he employs the greater becomes his profit, he offers to do work at less than the usual rate. It is not a necessity of the system that the middleman operative, the domestic worker, the lumper, or garret master should be himself underpaid, but simply that he should employ others who are so, and it is thus that such systems of work tend to cheapen the labour of those trades in which they are found to prevail. Who, then, are the cheap labourers?—who the individuals, by means of


whose services the sweater, the smaller master, the lumper, and others, is enabled to underwork the rest of his trade?—what the general characteristics of those who, in the majority of handicrafts, are found ready to do the same work for less pay, and how are these usually distinguished from such as obtain the higher rate of remuneration?

in all trades, I find, are divisible into classes:—

. The unskilful.

. The untrustworthy.

. The inexpensive.

, as regards the Long ago it has been noticed how frequently boys were put to trades to which their tastes and temperaments were antagonistic. Gay, who in his quiet, unpretending style often elicited a truth, tells how a century and a half ago the generality of parents never considered for what business a boy was best adapted—

But ev'n in infancy decree

What this or t'other son shall be.

A boy thus brought up to a craft for which he entertains a dislike can hardly become a proficient in it. At the present time thousands of parents are glad to have their sons reared to business which their means or opportunities place within their reach, even though the lad be altogether unsuited to the craft. The consequence is, that these boys often grow up to be unskilful workmen. There are technical terms for them in different trades, but perhaps the generic appellation is "muffs." Such workmen, however well conducted, can rarely obtain employment in a good shop at good wages, and are compelled, therefore, to accept , , and rate wages, and are often driven to slop work.

Other causes may be cited as tending to form unskilful workmen: the neglect of masters or foremen, or their incapacity to teach apprentices; irregular habits in the learner; and insufficient practice during a master's paucity of employment. I am assured, moreover, that hundreds of mechanics yearly come to London , whose skill is altogether inadequate to the demands of the "honourable trade." Of course, during the finishing of their education they can only work for inferior shops at inferior wages; hence another cause of cheap labour. Of this I will cite an instance: a bootmaker, who for years had worked for -rate West end shops, told me that when he came to London from a country town he was sanguine of success, because he knew that he was a man (a quick workman.) He very soon found out, however, he said, that as he aspired to do the best work, he "had his business to learn all over again;" and until he attained the requisite skill, he worked for "just what he could get:" he was a cheap, because then an unskilful, labourer.

There is, moreover, the cheaper labour of , the great prop of many a slop-trader; for as such traders disregard all the niceties of work, as they disregard also the solidity and perfect finish of any work (finishing it, as it was once described to me, "just to the eye"), a lad is soon made useful, and his labour remunerative to his master, as far as slop remuneration goes, which, though small in a small business, is wealth in a "monster business."

There are, again, the "" These are the most frequent in the dress-making and millinery business, as young women find it impossible to form a good connection among a wealthier class of ladies in any country town, unless the "patronesses" are satisfied that their skill and taste have been perfected in London. In my inquiry (in the course of letters in the ) into the condition of the workwomen in this calling, I was told by a retired dressmaker, who had for upwards of years carried on business in the neighbourhood of , that she had sometimes met with "improvers" so tasteful and quick, from a good provincial tuition, that they had really little or nothing to learn in London. And yet their services were secured for , and oftener for years, merely for board and lodging, while others employed in the same establishment had not only board and lodging, but handsome salaries. The improver's, then, is generally a cheap labour, and often a very cheap labour too. The same form of cheap labour prevails in the carpenter's trade.

There is, moreover, the labour of A tailor, for instance, who may have executed the most skilled work of his craft, in his old age, or before the period of old age, finds his eyesight fail him,—finds his tremulous fingers have not a full and rapid mastery of the needle, and he then lahours, at greatly reduced rates of payment, on the making of soldiers' clothing—"sanc-work," as it is called—or on any ill-paid and therefore illwrought labour.

The inferior, as regards the quality of the work, and under-paid class of , in tailoring, for example, again, cheapen labour. It is cheapened, also, by the employment of (in, perhaps, all branches of skilled or unskilled labour), and of , more especially of Poles, who are inferior workmen to the English, and who will work cheap, thus supplying a low-price labour to those who seek it.

I may remark further, that if a -rate workman be driven to slop work, he soon loses his skill; he can only work slop; this has been shown over and over again, and so labour becomes cheap in the mart.

. Of (as a cause of cheap labour) I need not say much, It is obvious that a drunken, idle, or dishonest workman or workwoman, when pressed by want, will and must labour, not for the recompense the labour merits, but for whatever pittance an employer will accord. There is no reliance to be placed in him. Such a man cannot "hold out" for terms, for he is perhaps starving, and it is known that "he cannot be depended upon." In the sweep's trade many of those who work at a lower rate than the rest of


the trade are men who have lost their regular work by dishonesty.

. The of workpeople are very numerous. They consist of sub-divisions:—

() Those who have been accustomed to a coarser kind of diet, and who, consequently, requiring less, can afford to work for less.

() Those who derive their subsistence from other sources, and who, consequently, do not live by their labour.

() Those who are in receipt of certain "aids to their wages," or who have other means of living beside their work.

Of course these causes can alone have influence where the wages are or reduced to the lowest ebb of subsistence, in which case they become so many means of driving down the price of labour still lower.

Those who, being what is designated hardreared that is to say, accustomed to a scantier or coarser diet, and who, therefore, "can do" with a less quantity or less expensive quality of food than the average run of labourers, can of course live at a lower cost, and so to work at a lower rate. Among such (unskilled) labourers are the peasants from many of the counties, who seek to amend their condition by obtaining employment in the towns. I will instance the agricultural labourers of Dorsetshire.

Bread and potatoes," writes Mr. Thornton, in his work on Over-Population and its Remedy, p. 21, "do really form the staple of their food. As for meat, most of them would not know its taste, if, once or twice in the course of their lives, —on the squire's having a son and heir born to him, or on the young gentleman's coming of age,— they were not regaled with a dinner of what the newspapers call 'old English fare.' Some of them contrive to have a little bacon, in the proportion, it seems, of half a pound a week to a dozen persons, but they more commonly use fat to give the potatoes a relish; and, as one of them said to Mr. Austin (a commissioner), they don't always go without cheese.'

With many poor Irishmen the rearing has been still harder. I had some conversation with an Irish rubbish-carter, who had been thrown out of work (and was entitled to no allowance from any trade society) in consequence of a strike by Mr. Myers's men. On my asking him how he subsisted in Ireland, "Will, thin, sir," he said, "and it's God's truth, I once lived for days on green things I picked up by the road side, and the turnips, and that sort of mate I stole from the fields. It was called staling, but it was the hunger, 'deed was it. That was in the county Limerick, sir, in the famine and 'viction times; and, glory be to God, I 'scaped when others didn't."

I may observe that the chief local paper, the , published twice a week, gave, twice a week, at the period of "the famine and evictions," statements similar to that of my informant.

Now, would not a poor man, reared as the Limerick peasant I have spoken of, who was actually driven to eat the grass, which biblical history shows was once a signal punishment to a great offender—would not such a man work for the veriest dole, rather than again be subjected to the pangs of hunger? In my inquiries among the costermongers, of them said of the Irish in his trade, and without any bitterness, "they'll work for nothing, and live on less." The meaning is obvious enough, although the assertion is, of course, a contradiction in itself.

This department of labour," says Mr. Baines, in his History of the Hand-Loom Weavers, is "greatly overstocked, and the price necessarily falls. The evil is aggravated by the multitudes of Irish who have flocked into Lancashire, some of whom, having been linen weavers, naturally resort to the loom, and others learn to weave as the easiest employment they can adopt. Accustomed to a wretched mode of living in their own country, they are contented with wages that would starve an English labourer. They have, in fact, so lowered the rate of wages as to drive many of the English out of the employment, and to drag down those who remain in it to their own level.

Those who derive their subsistence from other sources can, of course, afford to work cheaper than those who have to live by their labour. To this class belongs the labour of wives and children, who, being supposed to be maintained by the toil of the husband, are never paid "living wages" for what they do; and hence the misery of the great mass of needlewomen, widows, unmarried and friendless females, and the like, who, having none to assist them, are forced to starve upon the pittance they receive for their work. The labour of those who are in prisons, workhouses, and asylums, and who consequently have their subsistence found them in such places, as well as the work of prostitutes, who obtain their living by other means than work, all come under the category of those who can afford to labour at a lower rate than such as are condemned to toil for an honest living. It is the same with apprentices and "improvers," for whose labour the instruction received is generally considered to be either a sufficient or partial recompense, and who consequently look to other means for their support. Under the same head, too, may be cited the labour of amateurs, that is to say, of persons who either are not, or who are too proud to acknowledge themselves, regular members of the trade at which they work. Such is the case with very many of the daughters of tradesmen, and of many who are considered people. These young women, residing with their parents, and often in comfortable homes, at no cost to themselves, will, and do, undersell the regular needlewomen; the works merely for pocket-money (often to possess herself of some article of finery), while the other works for what is called "the bare life."

The last-mentioned class, or those who are in possession of what may be called "aids to wages," are differently circumstanced. Such are the men who have other employment besides


that for which they accept less than the ordinary pay, as is the case with those who attend at gentlemen's houses for or hours every morning, cleaning boots, brushing clothes, &c., and who, having the remainder of the day at their own disposal, can afford to work at any calling cheaper than others, because not solely dependent upon it for their living.

The army and navy pensioners (noncommis- sioned officers and privates) were, at period, on the disbanding of the militia and other forces, a very numerous body, but it was chiefly the military pensioners whose position had an effect upon the labour of the country. The naval pensioners found employment as fishermen, or in some avocation connected with the sea. The military pensioners, however, were men who, after a career of soldiership, were not generally disposed to settle down into the drudgery of regular work, even if it were in their power to do so; and so, as they always had their pensions to depend upon, they were a sort of universal jobbers, and jobbed cheaply. At the present time, however, this means of cheap labour is greatly restricted, compared with what was the case, the number of the pensioners being considerably diminished. Many of the army pensioners turn the wheels for turners at present.

The allotment of gardens, which yield a partial support to the allottee, are another means of cheap labour. The allotment demands a certain portion of time, but is by no means a thorough employment, but merely an "aid," and consequently a , to low wages. Such a man has the advantage of obtaining his potatoes and vegetables at the cheapest rate, and so can afford to work cheaper than other men of his class. It was the same formerly with those who received "relief" under the old Poor-Law.

And even under the present system it has been found that the same practice is attended with the same result. In the Annual Report of the Poor-Law Commissioners, , at p. , there are the following remarks on the subject:—

Whilst upon the subject of relief to widows in aid of wages, we must not omit to bring under your Lordship's notice an illustration of the depressing effect which is produced by the practice of giving relief in aid of wages to widows upon the earnings of females. Colonel A'Court states:—

'As regards females, the instance to which I have alluded presents itself in the Portsea Island Union, where, from the insufficiency of workhouse accommodation, as well as from benevolent feelings, small allowances of 1s. 6d. or 2s. a week are given to widows with or without small children, or to married women deserted by their husbands. Having this certain income, however small, they are enabled to work at lower wages than those who do not possess this advantage. The consequence is, that competition has enabled the shirt and stay manufacturers, who abound in the Union, and who furnish in great measure the London as well as many foreign markets with these articles of their trade, to get their work done at the extraordinary low prices of—stays, complete, 9d.; shirts, from 1s. to 1s. 6d. per dozen.

'The women all declare that they cannot possibly, after working from twelve to fifteen hours per day, earn more than 1s. 6d. per week. The manufacturers assert that, by steady work, 4s. to 6s. a week may be earned under ordinary circumstances.

'In the meantime the demand for workwomen increases, and it is by no means unusual to see hand-bills posted over the town requiring from 500 to 1000 additional stitchers.'

Such, then, is the character of the cheap workers in all trades; go where we will, we shall find the low-priced labour of the trade to consist of either or other of the classes above-mentioned; while the by which this labour is brought into operation will be generally by of the "systems of work" before specified.

The cheap labour of the rubbish-carters' trade appears to be a consequence of distinct antecedents, viz., casual labour and the prevalence of the contract system among builder's work. The small-master system also appears to have some influence upon it.

as regards the influence of casual labour in reducing the ordinary rate of wages.

The tables given at p. , vol. ii., showing the wages paid to the rubbish-carters, present what appears, and indeed is, a strange discrepancy of payment to the labourers in rubbish-carting. About -fourths of the rubbish-carters throughout Londonreceive weekly, when in work; in Hampstead, however, the rate of their wages is (uniformly) a week; in (but less uniformly), it is ; in Wandsworth, ; in , ; and in Greenwich, and The character of the work, whether executed for or weekly, is the same; why, then, can a rubbish-carter, who works at Hampstead, earn a week more than who works at Greenwich? An employer of rubbish-carters, and of similar labourers, on a large scale, a gentleman thoroughly conversant with the subject in all its industrial bearings, accounts for the discrepancy in this manner:—

After the corn and the hop-harvests have terminated, there is always an influx of unskilled labourers into Gravesend, Woolwich, and Greenwich. These are the men who, from the natural bent of their dispositions, or from the necessity of their circumstances, resort to the casual labour afforded by the revolution of the seasons, when to gather the crops before the weather may render the harvest precarious and its produce unsound, is a matter of paramount necessity, and the increase of hands employed during this season is, as a consequence, proportionately great. The chief scene of such labour in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, is in the county of Kent; and on the cessation of this work, of course there is a large amount of labour "turned adrift," to seek, the next few days, for any casual employment that may "turn up." In this way, I am assured,


a large amount of cheap and unskilled labour is being constantly placed at the command of those masters who, so to speak, occupy the line of march to London, and are, therefore, applied to for employment by casual labourers; who, when engaged, are employed as inferior, or unskilful, workmen, at an inferior rate of remuneration. Greenwich may be looked upon as the stage or halt for casual labourers, on their way to London.

My informant assured me, as the result of his own observations, that an English labourer would, as a general rule, execute more work by -, in a week, than an Irish labourer (a large proportion of the casual hands are Irish); that is, the extent of work which would occupy the Irishman , would occupy the Englishman but days, were it so calculated. The Englishman was, however, usually more skilled and persevering, and far more to be depended upon. So different was the amount of work, even in rubbish-carting, between an able and experienced hand and unused to the toil, or inadequate from want of alertness or bodily strength, or any other cause, to its full and quick execution, that "good" men in a week have done as much work as indifferent hands. Thus men at weekly each are as cheap (only employers cannot always see it), when they are thorough masters of their business, as unready hands at a week each. The misfortune, however, is, that the a week men have a tendency to reduce the to their level.

With regard to the difference between the wages of Hampstead and Greenwich, I am informed that stationary working rubbish-carters are not too numerous in Hampstead, which is considered as rather "out of the way;" and as that metropolitan suburb is surrounded in every direction by pasture-land and wood-land, it is not in the line of resort of the class of men who seek the casual labour in harvesting, &c., of which I have spoken; it is rarely visited by them, and consequently, the regular hands are less interfered with than elsewhere, and wages have not been deteriorated.

The mode of work among the scurf labourers differs somewhat from that of the honourable part of the trade; the work executed by the scurf masters being for the most part on a more limited scale than that of the others. To meet the demands of builders or of employers generally, when "time" is an object, demands the use of relays of men, and of strong horses. This demand the smaller or scurf master cannot always meet. He may find men, but not always horses and carts, and he will often enough undertake work beyond his means and endeavour to aggrandise his profits by screwing his labourers. The are nominally the same as the regular trade, but as an Irish carter said, "it's ralely the hours the masther plases, and they're often as long as it's light." The , with "a day's hire, and no notice beyond." I am informed that scurf labourers generally work an hour a day, without extra remuneration, longer than those in the honourable trade.

The rubbish-carters employed by the scurf masters are not, as a body, I am assured, so badly paid as they were a few years back. It is rarely that labouring men can advance any feasible reason for the changes in their trade.

of the rubbish-carters is the system of contracting and subletting. This, however, is but a branch of the ramified system of subletting in the construction of the "scamped" houses of the speculative builders. The building of such houses is sublet, literally from cellar to chimney. The rubbish-carting may be contracted for at a certain sum. The contractor may sublet it to men who will do it for - less perhaps, and who may sublet the labour in their turn. For instance, the calculation may be founded on the working men's receiving weekly. A contractor, a man possessing a horse, perhaps, and a couple of carts, and hiring another horse, will undertake it on the knowledge of his being able to engage men at or weekly, and so obtain a profit; indeed the reduction of price in such cases must all come out of the labour.

This subletting, I say, is but a small part of a gigantic system, and it is an unquestionable cause of the grinding down of the rubbish-carters' wages, and that by a class who have generally been working men themselves, and risen to be the owners of or carts and horses.

From of these men, now a working carter, I had the following account, which further illustrates the mode of labour as well as of employment.

I got a little a-head," he stated, "from railway jobbing and such like, and my fatherin-law, as soon as I got married, made me a present of 20l. unexpected. I started for myself, thinking to get on by degrees, and get a fresh horse and cart every year. But it couldn't be done, sir. If I offered to take a contract to cart the rubbish and dig it, a builder would say,— 'I can't wait; you haven't carts and horses enough from your own account, and I can't wait. If you have to hire them I can do that myself.' I was too honest, sir, in telling the plain truth, or I might have got more jobs. It's not a good trade in a small way, for if your horses aren't at work, they're eating their heads off, and you're fretting your heart out. Then I got to do subcon- tracting, as you call it. No, it weren't that, it was under-working. I'd go to Mr. V—— as I knew, and say, 'You're on such a place, sir, have you room for me?' 'I think not,' he'd say, 'I've only the regular thing and no advantages—10s. 6d. for a day's work, horse and cart, or 4s. a load.' Those are the regular terms. Then I'd say, 'Well, sir, I'll do it for 8s. 6d., and be my own carman;' and so perhaps I'd get the job, and masters often say: 'I know I shall lose at 10s. 6d., but if I don't, you shall have something over.' Get anything over! Of course not, sir. I could have lived if I had constant work for two horses and carts, for I would have got a cheap man; such as me must get cheap men to drive the second cart, and under my own eye, whenever I could; but one of my poor horses broke his leg, and had to be sent to the knacker's, and I sold the other and my carts, and have worked ever since as a labouring man; mainly at pipe-work. O, yes, and rubbish-carting. I get 18s. a week now, but not regular.

Well, sir, I'm sure I can't say, and I think no man could say, how much there's doing in subcontracting. If I'm at work in Cannon-street, I don't know what's doing at Notting-hill, or beyond Bow and Stratford. No, I'm satisfied there's not so much of it as there was, but it's done so on the sly; who knows how much is done still, or how little? It's a system as may be carried on a long time, and is carried on, as far as men's labour goes, but it's different where there's horses, and stable rent. They can't be screwed, or under-fed, beyond a certain pitch, or they couldn't work at all, and so there's not as much under-work about horse-labour.

These small men are among the scurf and petty rubbish-carters, and are often the means of depressing the class to which they have belonged.

The employment in the honourable trade at rubbish-carting would be of the best among unskilled labourers, were it continuous. But it is not continuous, and -fourths of those engaged in it have only months' work at it in the year. In the scurf-masters' employ, the work is really "casual," or, as I heard it quite as often described, "chance." In both departments of this trade, the men out of work look for a job in scavagery, and very generally in night-work, or, indeed, in any labour that offers. The Irish rubbish-carters will readily became hawkers of apples, oranges, walnuts, and even nuts, when out of employ, so working in concert with their wives. I heard of only instances of a similar resource by the English rubbish-carters.

What I have said of the education, religion, politics, concubinage, &c., &c., of the better-paid rubbish-carters would have but to be repeated, if I described those of the under-paid. The latter may be more reckless when they have the means of enjoyment, but their diet, amusements, and expenditure would be the same, were their means commensurate. As it is, they sometimes live very barely and have hardly any amusements at their command. Their dinners, when single men, are often bread and a saveloy; when married, sometimes tea and bread and butter, and occasionally some "block ornaments;" the Irish being the principal consumers of cheap fish.

The labour of the wives of the rubbish-carters is far more frequently that of char-women than of needle-women, for the great majority of these women before their marriage were servant-maids. All the information I received was concurrent in that respect. The wife of a carman who keeps a chandler's shop near the Edgeware-road, greatly resorted to by the class to which her husband belonged, told me that out of somewhere about wives of rubbish-carters or similar workmen, whom she knew, had been domestic servants; what the others had been she did not know.

I can tell you, sir," said the woman, "charing is far better than needle-work; far. If a young woman has conducted herself well in service, she can get charing, and then if she conducts herself well again, she makes good friends. That's, of course, if they're honest, sir. I know it from experience. My husband—before we were able to open this shop—was in the hospital a long time, and I went out charing, and did far better than a sister I have, who is a capital shirt-maker. There's broken victuals, sometimes, for your children. It's a hard world, sir, but there's a many good people in it.

woman (before mentioned) earned not less than weekly in superior shirt-making, as it was described to me, which was evidently looked upon as a handsome remuneration for such toil. Another earned ; another ; and others, with uncertain employ, , , and in some weeks nothing. Needle-work, however, is, I am informed, not the work of onetenth of the rubbish-carters' wives, whatever the earnings of the husband. From all I could learn, too, the wives of the under-paid rubbish-carters earned more, by from to per cent., than those of the better-paid. The earnings of a charwoman in average employ, as regards the wives of the rubbish-carters, is about weekly, without the exhausting toil of the needle-woman, and with the advantage of sometimes receiving broken meat, dripping, fat, &c., &c. The wives of the Irish labourers in this trade are often all the year street-sellers, some of wash-leathers, some of cabbage-nets, and some of fruit, clearing perhaps from to a day, if used to streettrading, as the majority of them are.

The under-paid labourers in this trade are chiefly poor Irishmen. The Irish workmen in this branch of the trade have generally been brought up "on the land," as they call it, in their own country, and after the sufferings of many of them during the famine, a week is regarded as "a rise in the world."

From of this class I learned the following particulars. He seemed a man of or :—

I was brought up on the land, sir," he said, "not far from Cullin, in the county Wexford. I lived with my father and mother, and shure we were badly off. Shure, thin, we were. Father and mother—the Heavens be their bed—died one soon after another, and some friends raised me the manes to come to this country. Well, thin, indeed, sir, and I can't say how they raised them, God reward them. I got to Liverpool, and walked to London, where I had some relations. I sold oranges in the strates the first day I was in London. God help me, I was glad to do anything to get a male's mate. I've lived on 6d. a-day sometimes. I have indeed. There was 2d. for the lodging, and 4d. for the mate, the tay and bread and butter. Did I live harder than that in Ireland, your honour? Well, thin, I have. I've lived on a dish of potatoes that might cost a penny there, where things is bhutiful and chape. Not like this country. No, no. I wouldn't care to go back. I have no friends there now. Thin I got ingaged by a man—yis, he was a rubbish-carter— to help him to fill his cart, and then we shot it on some new garden grounds, and had to shovel it about to make the grounds livil, afore the top soil was put on, for the bhutiful flowers and the gravel walks. Tim—yis, he was a counthryman of mine, but a Cor-rk man—said he'd made a bad bargain, for he was bad off, and he only clared 4d. a load, and he'd divide it wid me. We did six loads in a day, and I got 1s. every night for a wake. This was a rise. But one Sunday evening I was standing talking with people as lived in the same coort, and I tould how I was helping Tim. And two Englishmen came to find four men as they wanted for work, and ould Ragin (Regan) tould them what I was working for. And one of 'em said, I was 'a b —— Irish fool,' and ould Ragin said so, and words came on, and thin there was a fight, and the pelleece came, and thin the fight was harder. I was taken to the station, and had a month. I had two black eyes next morning, but was willin' to forget and forgive. No, I'm not fond of fightin'. I'm a paceable man, glory be to God, and I think I was put on. Oh, yis, and indeed thin, your honour, it was a fair fight.

I inquired of an English rubbish-carter as to these fair fights. He knew nothing of the in question, but had seen such fights. They were usually among the Irish themselves, but sometimes Englishmen were "drawn into them." "Fair fights! sir," he said, "why the Irishes don't stand up to you like men. They don't fight like Christians, sir; not a bit of it. They kick, and scratch, and bite, and tear, like devils, or cats, or women. They're soon settled if you can get an honest knock at them, but it isn't easy."

"I sarved my month," continued my Irish informant, "and it ain't a bad place at all, the prison. I tould the gintleman that had charge of us, that I was a Roman Catholic, God be praised, and couldn't go to his prayers. 'O very well, Pat,' says he. And next day the praste came, and we were shown in to him, and very angry he was, and said our conduc' was a disgrace to religion, and to our counthry, and to him. Do I think he was right, sir? God knows he was, or he wouldn't have said so.

I hadn't been out of prison two hours before I was hired for a job, at 10s. a week. It was in the city, and I carried old bricks and rubbish along planks, from the inside of a place as was pulled down; but the outside, all but the roof, was standin' until the windor frames, and the door posts, and what other timbers there was, was sould. It was dreadful hard work, carrying the basket of rubbish on your back to the cart. The dust came through, and stuck to my neck, for I was wet all over wid sweatin' so. Every man was allowed a pint of beer a day, and I thought nivver anything was so sweet. I don't know who gave it. The masther, I suppose. Will, thin, sir, I don't know who was the masther; it was John Riley as ingaged me, but he's no masther. Yis, thin, and I've been workin' that way ivver since. I've sometimes had 14s. a week, and sometimes 10s., and sometimes 12s. A man like me must take what he can get, and I will take it. I've been out of work sometimes, but not so much as some, for I'm young and strong. No, I can't save no money, and I have nothing just now to save it for. When I'm out of work, I sell fruit in the streets.

This statement, then, as regards the Irish labourers, shows the quality of the class employed. The English labourers, working on the same terms, are of the usual class of men so working,—broken-down men, unable, or accounting themselves unable, to "do better," and so accepting any offer affording the means of their daily bread.


[] The term sanc in "sanc-work" is the Norman word for blood (Latin, sanguis; French, sang), so that "sanc-work" means, literally, bloody work, this called either from the sanguinary trade of the soldier, or from the blood-red colour of the cloth.

This object is in collection Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
DCA Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 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