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Leicester Special Collections

Traversing the City

Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold, London: A Pilgrimage (1872)

Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold, London: A Pilgrimage (1872)

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.

James Croston, Manchester As it Is: A Series of Views by Alfred Brothers, F. R. A. S (1878)

James Croston, Manchester As it Is: A Series of Views by Alfred Brothers, F. R. A. S (1878)

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.