Booth Walks


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booth map shoreditch

Map Legend

The seven classes are described on the legend to the maps as follows:

BLACK: The lowest class which consists of some occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals. Their life is the life of savages, with vicissitudes of extreme hardship and their only luxury is drink.

DARK BLUE: Casual earnings, very poor. The labourers do not get as much as three days work a week, but it is doubtful if many could or would work full time for long together if they had the opportunity. Class B is not one in which men are born and live and die so much as a deposit of those who from mental, moral and physical reasons are incapable of better work

LIGHT BLUE: Intermittent earning. 18s to 21s per week for a moderate family. The victims of competition and on them falls with particular severity the weight of recurrent depressions of trade. Labourers, poorer artisans and street sellers. This irregularity of employment may show itself in the week or in the year: stevedores and waterside porters may secure only one of two days' work in a week, whereas labourers in the building trades may get only eight or nine months in a year. Or Small regular earnings. poor, regular earnings. Factory, dock, and warehouse labourers, car men, messengers and porters. Of the whole section none can be said to rise above poverty, nor are many to be classed as very poor. As a general rule they have a hard struggle to make ends meet, but they are, as a body, decent steady men, paying their way and bringing up their children respectably.

PURPLE: Regular standard earnings, 22s to 30s per week for regular work, fairly comfortable. As a rule the wives do not work, but the children do: the boys commonly following the father, the girls taking local trades or going out to service.

PINK: Higher class labour and the best paid of the artisans. Earnings exceed 30s per week. Foremen are included, city warehousemen of the better class and first hand lightermen; they are usually paid for responsibility and are men of good character and much intelligence. Above the line of poverty

RED: Lower middle class. Shopkeepers and small employers, clerks and subordinate professional men. A hardworking sober, energetic class.

YELLOW: Upper middle class, servant keeping class.

A combination of colours - as dark blue or black, or pink and red - indicates that the street contains a fair proportion of each of the classes represented by the respective colours.

The Maps Descriptive of London Poverty, Inquiry into Life and Labour in London (1886-1903).  By Charles Booth

Booth Walk around Hoxton & Shoreditch 1898

Here are a few Extracts;

"Starting at St George's Square out of the west side of Hoxton High Street nearly opposite the Hoxton Lunatic Asylum. A messy square surrounded on N. W. & south side by four storied buildings, poor, rowdy much trouble to police, haunt of Sunday gamblers who escape up the open staircases - windows broken and patched - a few exceptions with tidy blinds, curtains, flowers etc. but the whole worse than poor, compares with the worst end of Laburnham Street! Is becoming worse. Dark blue - on the south side is a passage called More's buildings - all cabinet makers shops, small men.

Grove Walk leads from St George's Square to Mundy Street at the Hoxton Street end on the side of which are 5 storied buildings called Stanley Houses, rather rough

West into Hoxton Square almost entirely given over to cabinet workers. The only homes are a Roman Catholic Priory and an Anglican parsonage. At the NW end is Austin's string factory. 'Employs over 100 boys and is more like a father to them than an employer' - All round are chair and couch frame makers, plate glass bevellers, sideboard makers, manufacturing upholsterers. One man calls himself a maker of 'Fancy tables, spittoon's & footstools'! Others are marble workers, chairmakers, spring makers bright guilders and veneer cutters; the road atrociously paved; the reason being that neither the parish nor the trustees of the properties wish to have the expense, they are waiting for some accident which shall bring the whole question of conflicting jurisdiction before the courts. Ryeland said that the square belonged by special act of Parliament to a body of trustees who liked to keep it for themselves. The parish on its own authority demolished some gates at the south end and repaired the street saying that if the trustees would hand over the square to them they would maintain both it and the road as an open space. This the trustees (who are chosen from the surrounding houses) refused, well knowing it would mean a rise in rates but they added, 'You have pulled down our gates and repaired some of the road, We or none shall repair the whole square'. There the matter rests. A few homes at the SE end of Hoxton should be pink (if coloured at all)."

"South into Hoxton market. 'Six years ago no policeman would have dared to walk down it alone' Four storied buildings both on E & W sides That on the East side was tenanted by a band of 'squatters' who would pay no rent, turned out by the police, as was nearly the whole street - 'Where they went, I don't know' said Ryeland. A better class is in now. A Common lodging house is at the SE corner - 'Is better than Laburnum St, now light blue rather than black of the map. 'The feelings of this neighbourhood were much touched in the hard winter of 1895 when the police opened a subscription among themselves and themselves distributed the bread and soup tickets to the poor whether notorious characters or not. West along Boot Street - a 'very shady quarter' - Jubilee chambers on the south side behind public house, the known haunt of criminals & black. Rough housing - the whole dark blue lined rather than dark blue. South up Pitfield Street - market, shopping street, busy. West along Boot Street into a court on the north side leading through into the west side of Hoxton Square, tenanted by small men, barrow makers, cabinet makers and horse collar makers - light blue rather than dark blue of map."

"Foundry Row, Foundry Place & Royal Oak Place. This last is the best and purple rather than light blue. All poor, quiet, clean, 'very old tenants'. One old woman, who thought we were about demolition said she had been there 26 years, another had been in the same house for 36 years. This is difficult of a colour & might have been a black spot, but it is not.

North up Pitfield St. & East along Ashford St. 3 storied, 3 families to a house, 8 rooms & wash house, no poor, clean blinds & windows, better than it used to be, on the Haberdashers Co's estates - rent/ leases lately have fallen in, houses done up, rents raised & a better class have come in - character purple to pink - in map purple. North into Aske St. 3 storey 'all on the N side have been let to new tenants within the last 12 months', inhabitants employed in the city. Great demand for the houses 'all let before they were finished repairing!' Same class as those living in Foston & Napier St, better than Huntingdon St; at the east end are the Enfield Buildings, 6 storied same colouring as the street. Fanshawe St 2 & 5 storied, like the rest, purple with pink. 'The old tenants went farther our'. House taken by one family at 17shillings and sublet. Children well-booted, - hatted, - fed with clean faces & pinafores."

"North into Britannia Gardens. Rough poor - 'belongs to Mrs Lane the proprietress of the Britannia Theatre, used to be recreation gardens behind the theatre, now tenanted by a rough coster set, not criminals, piles of old packing cases, barrows & hens in the roadway, one barefoot child - dark blue ."

"West across Pitfield Street to Berenden St. 3 & 2 stories with basement. Built 1802. Haberdashers estate - improvement - new set of tenants within the last 2 years - south side rather better than the north side which towards its west end has one or two mixed houses - character south side pink, north pink to purple

South of it is Haberdashers street. 3 stories & basement, good, quiet pink. China pots in front window, clean unbroken windows, white doorsteps, curtains good, all doors shut, pink. Into Butterland St. poorer than the foregoing but better than the light blue of the map, 3 stories, mixed. Where the leases have fallen in the houses have been done up & a better class of tenants has come in. South down Baches St. Only a few dwellings, houses at the NE & SE ends left. The most have been replaced by large factories, purple as map. West along Craven St. the whole of the N side has been replaced by stables belonging to G. Patten contractor. The south side is still rough & poor, 3 stories S only prostitutes living here. There have been complaints of two houses in the East Side of the turning into Brunswick Place being used as brothels.

Into Charles Square. An old square - red tiled housetops, carved stone tablet let into house at SE corner bears date 1770. John Newton the _ writer lived on the N side; square opened as a public square on Saturday last & full of children. German club at NE corner - 'used to be a public house - shut by police,' Ryland said the Germans who went there kept late hours, were noisy & did not live in the neighbourhood. Old sign of men & dry coloured figures above doorway. Leverington Place on the N side - poor, quiet, 2 stories, 3 houses only light blue to dark blue, children with holey shoes.

"The north side of Catharine's St is pink, held by Champions men, 'Bought by Champion to prevent Sarson from extending his factory.' The south side of the road has been used for the extension of Champions own factory.The south end of all these streets is taken by 5 storied buildings 'a den of thieves & prostitutes' Vicious, assaults on police, 'like Wilmer Gardens'. I think the Southern end should all be dark blue lined black and the northern ends light blue rather than pink, the north side of the best end of Catharine St alone remains pink.

"Starting at Pitmans Yard which is south of the police station on the west side of the Kingsland Road - old houses - 2 storey's & attic - a colony of watercress seller's - drunken - noisy - dark blue as map. South along a passage into Eliza Place - 2 storey's - 2 rooms & washhouse - poor, respectable, clean, light blue to purple in map light blue. South to Dogsdale Street out of which on the south side is Dudley's Folly. 2 storeys rent 6 shillings for 2 rooms & wash house, very poor & dingy but fairly quiet, light blue to dark blue in map dark blue. Along Dogsdale St the Kingsland Road end and went as far as the public house at the corner of Drysdale Place is respectable, men employed in the cabinet trade & sawmills on the south side of the street - But past the Public House & W of Drysdale Place is a very rough set of 5 storied houses on the south side - let in one roomed tenements. Drunken 'especially the women'. "

"N up Hoxton High St & East to Hoxton Place. 7 houses only on west side only on the s side of the passage leading to it is the Municipal Soup Kitchen (the only one in London ?) opened 3 years ago. light blue. North of Hoxton Place is Windsor Place. 2 storey's, poor, respectable, front garden 3 rooms & wash house 6 shillings & 6 pence, old inhabitants, a great thoroughfare for policemen to & from their beats. Light blue as map. N up the High Street on the east side nearly opposite Pimlico walk is Henry's Place. Dark blue in map & still dark blue. Drunken, criminal, rough, poor, a slum - one barefoot, ragged, dirty child. 'A warm shop for policemen'.

N again & east along White Hart Court into Wellington St - 2 storey's, poor - 'some of the gambling fraternity live here' i.e. bookmakers territory - light blue as map. North then east into Red Lion St Houses on N side. Board School on south. Poor, noisy at times - asphalt paved - a poor woman singing by herself. Walking down the middle begging. Light blue as map. At the west end is a large showcard & box factory. Running N out of the West end 6 houses with small front gardens. 2 storey's. children booted, well fed, rather dirty. Light blue as map."

"South along the Hackney Road, out of the North side in Perigo Place leading out of St Johns terrace 2 houses only on N side. The south side is the back of the pawnbrokers 'like St Johns Terrace' - dark blue. South of it is Axe Place 2 storey's poor -?- front gardens, light blue as map. North into Union Crescent. 25 houses 2 storied. Old trough, old unused pump in the middle. Hackney Rd Mission at the South end. Purple to pink. Further west & running from Union St northwards under the railway Bridge is Union Walk. All manufacturers premises, warehouses - back into the Hackney Rd & south, west along Cotton gardens (Hudson St in map) 2 storey's. front gardens - poor rough - the whole of the south side is now taken up by printing works as is also one house at the NW ends. The windows of houses broken and stuffed with paper & rags. N side still dark blue as maps."

"Across to the west side of the Kingsland Road south of Wellington St is Caroline Place. 2 storey's poor, very quiet & respectable. 'the mother of 3 policemen and mother in law of two lives here'. 54 houses - flowers - great care of front gardens - fat cats - light blue to purple. 'great proportion of the girls from here do work in connection with the mission in Basing Place' Basing Place also quiet, rather better off foregoing - almshouses at the west end & mission chapel on N side. 2 police sergeants live here - 'It is rather better than Caroline Place which in its turn is better off then Windsor Terrace'. This should certainly be purple. The mission was originally connected with the old Hoxton Academy Church, which has now migrated to the New Tabernacle in Old Street.

South of it just beside the police station is Basinghouse Gardens, used to be old coaching yard connected with the Marlborough public house at its entrance. Stables with handsome overhanging roof still on N side. Few houses at west end (5) 2 storeys. used to be rough. Has a new class in & done up. Character purple to pink. China pot in windows.

General Remarks

Note the fast betterment of Hoxton Market & of the Haberdashers Estate - the nearness to tramlines & houses makes the latter most suitable for those employed in the city, hence when houses were done up and rents raised a new class came in & the 'houses were let even before they were ready for habitation'. Note also the extension of warehouses and factories, which must have displaced large numbers of the population.

As to children fetching beer, Ryeland holds it in horror. It's not he profanity of the language used in the public houses as the beastliness of it that he thinks so bad for the children. Thinks that if the women had to go themselves, some would go and stay but that more would go without to save themselves the trouble."

Existence of small, quiet, old turnings and inhabitants off the Kingsland Road. Strawberries being sold off carters barrow in the Kingsland Road, great pile of them, in good condition (from abroad). Did not see the price but could not have been more than sixpence per pound. This is May 19th.

Hackney Road is inferior to the new north road as a shopping poor street. 'It leads from one poor district to another'."


The Life of the London Poor

1898 booth poverty map  newingtonBooth Newington Walk 1898

"Tiverton Street; 3 storey houses, flush with pavement; "rather rough"; S. side better than the N. many gossiping women & ill clad children. Improved but still dark blue."

1910 Laytons Grove Borough"Wellington Street: (now a continuation of Tarn Street) 2 storey houses; forecourts; a few shops; respectable. Rents 11/- to 13/-; generally six rooms to a  house; the occupiers mostly old tenants but "a good deal of packing" was the information of an old resident. light blue to purple. S. Is Dorset Street; 2 storey houses; flush with pavement; untidy. dark blue. running N. is Linwood Place; narrow; paved; cul de sac; 2 storey houses; rough; ragged children; 3 or 4 rooms to a house; rents 6/- to 7/6. dark blue. Uxbridge Street; 2 storey houses; flush with pavement; better than Dorset Street flowers, blinds, ornaments etc. N. of Uxbridge Place & Dorset Street dark blue to light blue; the rest dark blue. On the S.E. side is Uxbridge Place; 3 storey houses; 2 & 4 rooms to each; terrible women, mostly pregnant. dark blue. To the N. is Arch Street; mainly coal, corn, bus yard etc. Small block of dwellings on south side, near east corner, 3 storied; bus men of the lower grades mainly; uncoloured to light blue. Meadow Row; 3 storey houses; 3 rooms at 9/6; gloomy but low-grade pink. Running north is the rest of Rockingham Street; 2 storey houses; forecourts; police and other decent folk living here; respectable; purple to pink. Paul's Passage (to the south) mainly dye-works etc. but two cottages, one on each side, on the south. dark blue; on the N. pink.  "

"Low Kent Road; for about half way to Harpor Street the big forecourts that ought to be gardens still uncovered but after this point they have met their doom and are all built over. The street pink-barred as map.  By Woramans Place; asphalt; 2 storey houses; light blue. Went into one occupied by a bakers labourer; 3 rooms, little yard behind. The woman had recently come from Peckham; said the Court was very quiet, but Peckham was "pleasant or like" Her rent was 6/-. "

Borough High Street Borough c1910"Pitney Place; 2 storey houses, quiet; rents 7/- 3 rooms and a wash house. Was told there were no lodgers here; there was "no room"; a pensioned policeman living here. Dark blue to purple. The other court is Harmers Buildings; 2 storey houses; S.W. side only, like Pitney Place; gardens, some cared for, and the court a pleasant enough spot. A pensioned policeman here too. light blue to pink. "

"Trinity Square; 3 storey houses with basements; forecourts; some private, but mostly lodgings, many Guy's students here and hereabouts. Pink barred as map. Merrick Square; 2 storey houses with basements; something like Trinity Square, but rather better. Apartments the rule however. Red to pink barred. Falmouth Road; 2 and 3 storey houses; rather more stylish than the lower end"

"Upper Bland Street; 2 storey houses; some poor old cottages on S.E. side. All from dark blue and light blue to purple. Great Dover Street; pink barred, with an omission for Dewpane's large engineering works, to Lawson Street; 2 storey houses very much like Great Bland Street, and the big block of Britannia Chambers (6 storied, studios, ugly; a police constable etc. among the occupants; a bus yard behind. Giving an unprepossessing appearance to an unprepossessing block, but it, with the street from light blue to purple.

Great Bland Street; N. of Lower  Bland Street 2 storey houses, forecourt, many of them gardens, pink as map here. S. or Lower Bland Street, is 4 storey block, poor on the N. side put as light blue. On the other side stables etc; colour omitted. S. of Lawson Street is  Lric place; divided only by a fence from Margaret Place; running out of Lower Bland Street, both 2 storey cottages light blue as map. In Margaret Place and probably in the other, three rooms to a cottage; rents from 7/- to 7/6. Lower Bland Street; 2 storey houses; light blue as map. dark blue. Court at N.E. end gone; now cottages at street frontage here. Two or three houses opposite show signs of the condition of the dark blue court, some of the occupants having moved into them, en mass, certainly one dark blue house. Buckingham Street and Square; 2 storey houses; all flush with sidewalk; poor class; some broken windows and neglected children. Pink to purple. The square dated 1836."

"This area includes the best part of the Borough and the tendency is for this to improve. There is no important local employment, excepting Tarn's and the other shops of the main streets. It would probably be found on closer analysis that many of the men in regular employment, like the City police living in bath Place go to the City for their work. The worst corner is that of which Wellington Street is the centre, and, with many costers and casual labourers, Sommersgill appeared to think that many of the men living in these adjacent courts picked up much of their casual livelihood in the crowded neighbourhood of the Elephant and Castle, on the assumption that the immense congregation of trams and busses and people there made work of one kind or another - light fingered or otherwise. The adjacent busy road also doubtlessly absorbs a certain amount of low-class labour, with a penchant for drunkenness and disorder. But the area, taken as a whole is respectable and decent, and, as stated, improving. "


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