Traversing the City
Gustave Doré’s illustrations to accompany Blanchard Jerrold’s text are among the most evocative and widely reproduced images of Victorian London. The pictures themselves were drawn from memory in Doré's Parisian studio, and the author himself complained of their inaccuracies. Nonetheless, the stark contrasts between the rich and poor that Doré depicted made London: A Pilgrimage one of the most powerful of all the social investigations undertaken by journalists and artists during the Victorian period.
While no other British city came close to London in terms of size and population, other urban centres grew rapidly during the Victorian Period. From a population of 89,000 at the start of the nineteenth century, Manchester had grown to become a city of 400,000 in 1851 and 700,000 in 1901. Manchester’s growth was fuelled largely by the cotton industry, with young men and women pouring in from the countryside to find work in the factories and mills. From the Thomas Hatton Collection, Manchester as it Is captures the changing face of Manchester through text by James Croston and photographs by Alfred Brothers. The image of the Market Place juxtaposes old and new Manchester, with an old inn (the Wellington) in the foreground, under the shadow of the recently completed Royal Exchange.
Among the richest categories of source material for scholars of the Victorian City are the many works of ‘social investigation’ published during the period. Shown here are two examples of the genre by James Greenwood, a journalist, and Alfred Alsop, a Methodist minister. Greenwood first rose to prominence in 1866 through a series of articles published in the Pall Mall Gazette under the title, ‘A night in the workhouse’. His revelations of the atrocious conditions in Lambeth workhouse, combined with the maladministration of workhouse authorities, caused a sensation. Alsop was the founder of Wood Street Boys’ Home (now Wood Street Mission), designed to relieve the suffering of families living in slums in and around Deansgate, Manchester. The copy of Journeys Through London shown is from Dyos’s own library.