This may be a litte to the side of the main theme here – or maybe not.Mayhew’s work and his respectful interviews with the poor in London during the mid nineteenth century impressed me deeply…It formed part of my introduction to History and my love of it.
Today is the bicentenary of Henry Mayhew (25 November 1812 – 25 July 1887).
“I think you will agree to be one of the most beautiful records of the nobility of the poor; of those whom our jaunty legislators know nothing. I am very proud to say that these papers of Labour and the Poor were projected by Henry Mayhew, who married my girl. For comprehensiveness of purpose and minuteness of detail they have never been approached. He will cut his name deep.”
This was written in 1850 by Douglas Jerrold, Mayhew’s friend, collaborator and father-in-law at a time when Henry Mayhew would have been collating the first edition of London Labour and the London Poor (1851). Jerrold was mainly wrong, because today Mayhew is all but forgotten. This is a great pity, because the writer was hugely influential in his own time, not least among his near-exact contemporaries, Charles…
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