London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2
Of the Dust and Dirt of the Streets of London.
WE have merely to reflect upon the vast amount of traffic just shown to be daily going on throughout London — to think of the miles of journey through the metropolis annually performed by the entire vehicles (which is more than -thirds the distance from the earth to the sun)—to bear in mind that each part of London is on the average gone over and over again times in the course of the year, and some parts as many as times in a day—and that every horse and vehicle by which the streets are traversed are furnished, the with iron-bound hoofs, and the other with iron-bound wheels—to have an imperfect idea of the enormous weights and friction continually operating upon the surface of the streets—as well as the amount of grinding and pulverising, and wear and tear, that must be perpetually taking place in the paving-stones and macadamized roads of London; and thus we may be able to form some mental estimate as to the quantity of dust and dirt annually produced by these means alone.
But the table in pp. -, which has been collected at great trouble, will give us still more accurate notions on the subject. It is not given as perfect, but as being the best information, in the absence of positive returns, that was procurable even from the best informed.
Here, then, we have an aggregate total of dust collected from the parts of the metropolis amounting to no less than loads. The value of this refuse is said to be as much as , but of this and more I shall speak hereafter. At present I merely seek to give the reader a general notion upon the matter. I wish to show him, before treating of the labourers engaged in the scavenging of the London streets, the amount of work they have to do.