1. ConnorMack
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    ConnorMack Member

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    London in 1820s

    Discussion in 'Research' started by ConnorMack, Dec 26, 2008.

    Hi there, I'm thinking of working on a story that takes place in London sometime in the 1820s about a young boy who's a chimney sweep, before they made it illegal for young boys to sweep in 1831. I can't really find anything about it and was curious if anyone else knew anything about the time or what London looked like back then. Thanks.
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi CM
    Your starting point should be the 4 volumes by Henry Mayhew: 'London Labour and the London Poor'. These fascinating articles were published in the 1860s I think, but many of the interviews they were based on were done much earlier. There are interviews with sweeps among them, and it gives a fantastic picture of early London life, and how people spoke. (Note: there were sweeps' boys after 1830). It's a classic, so you should be able to find/order it.
    Also remember that London was devastated by bombing in the 2nd World War, so it looked very different in those days. Look at street plans to familiarise yourself. The Museum of London is always very helpful.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Addendum to above: just remembered that an Act of Parliament (House of Lord) was approved in 1864, after many years of campaigning to outlaw the use of children for climbing chimneys, known as 'Lord Shaftesbury’s Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers'.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this is why god and those two brilliant kids invented google!
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    C'mon mammamaia, help the OP out...give us your first-hand impressions...what was it really like back then? LOL
     
  6. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I recommend you read Charles Dickens.
     
  7. ConnorMack
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    ConnorMack Member

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    Hey thanks you guys. I really appreciate your help and will be reading around for awhile now. Thanks for the help :)
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Google is a good kick-off for facts, but no substitute for libraries/archives/expert opinion (prof of social history at your nearby university?) if you're doing historical reseach, as has been mentioned on this forum before. Depends how accurate and in-depth you want to be.
    Charles Dickens is fiction. It's fun, but for real facts, get yourself a copy of Henry Mayhew (standard text for 19th Century social history). Also, the Quakers did a lot of work in this area.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ok, salty!... got a good laugh outa that gibe, at least... but hey, i'm not even part english, so back then woulda been elsewhere...
     

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