London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2

Mayhew, Henry


Of the Sewermen and Nightmen of London.


WE now come to the consideration of the last of the several classes of labourers engaged in the removal of the species of refuse from the metropolis. I have before said that the public refuse of a town consists of kinds:—

I. The street-refuse.

II. The house-refuse.

Of each of these kinds there are species:—

A. The dry.

B. The wet.

The dry street-refuse consists, as we have seen, of the refuse earth, bricks, mortar, oyster-shells, potsherds, and pansherds.

And the dry house-refuse of the soot and ashes of our fires.

The wet street-refuse consists, on the other hand, of the mud, slop, and surface water of our public thoroughfares.

And the wet house-refuse, of what is familiarly known as the "slops" of our residences, and the liquid refuse of our factories and slaughterhouses.

We have already collected the facts in connection with the of these subjects. We have ascertained the total amount of each of these species of refuse which have to be annually removed from the capital. We have set forth the aggregate number of labourers who are engaged in the removal of it, as well as the gross sum that is paid for so doing, showing the individual earnings of each of the workmen, and arriving, as near as possible, at the profits of their employers, as well as the condition of the employed. This has been done, it is believed, for the time in this country; and if the subject has led us into longer discussions than usual, the importance of the matter, considered in a sanitary point of view, is such that a moment's reflection will convince us of the value of the inquiry—especially in connection with a work which aspires to embrace the whole of the offices performed by the labourers of the capital of the British Empire.

It now but remains for us to complete this novel and vast inquiry by settling the condition and earnings of the men engaged in the removal of the last species of public refuse. I shall consider, , the aggregate quantity of wet house-refuse that has to be annually removed; secondly, the means adopted for the removal of it; thirdly, the cost of so doing; and lastly, the number of men engaged in this kind of work, as well as the wages paid to them, and the physical, intellectual, and moral condition in which they exist, or, more properly speaking, are allowed to remain.

This object is in collection Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC 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