Victorian London: From Slums to Garden Suburbs
In 1800 London was the only city in the world with a million inhabitants most of whom lived in the abysmal conditions described by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist (1837). “Cholera and Mr. Dickens,“ as one reformer at mid-century would say, did much to alter those conditions for the better; that is, the horror of contagion and the brilliance of fiction awakened the conscience and enlightened the consciousness of Victorian reformers whose uphill battle to cleanse the growing city would, at the very least, offer alternative visions of urban life with some vivid results by the end of the century (when the population had risen to six and a half million). The slums, of course, would not disappear. Our study of Victorian England will focus on the City, the systematic exposure of its grizzly depths by journalists, writers of fiction and other artists along with literary and architectural efforts to improve it. Beginning with Dickens and his contemporaries (including selections from Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1849-1861)) we will conclude with the utopian vision of William Morris, News from Nowhere (1890) and the architecture of the Garden Suburb movement, including Charles Harrison Townsend and Raymond Unwin.
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist Penguin BooksISBN 9780141439747
Henry Mayhew, London Labour and London Poor (Electronic)
William Morris, News from Nowhere and other writings (Electronic and Print)
Blanchard Jerrold and Gustave Doré, London: A Pilgrimage (Electronic)
Supplementary texts and images on Electronic Reserve