London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2

Mayhew, Henry


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.

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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