The Slums of London
“THE EDITUR OF THE TIMES PAPER
“Sur, — May we beg and beseech your proteckshion and power. We are Sur, as it may be, livin in a Wilderniss, so far as the rest of London knows anything of us, or as the rich and great people care about. We live in muck and filth. We aint got no priviz, no dust bins, no drains, no water-splies, and no drain or suer in the hole place. The Suer Company, in Greek St., Soho Square, all great, rich and powerfool men, take no notice watsomdever of our complaints. The Stenche of a Gully-hole is disgustin. We all of us suffer, and numbers are ill, and if the Colera comes Lord help us.
“Some gentlemans comed yesterday, and we thought they was comishioners from the Suer Company, but they was complaining of the noosance and stenche our lanes and corts was to them in New Oxforde Strect. They was much surprized to see the seller in No. 12, Carrier St., in our lane, where a child was dyin from fever, and would not believe that Sixty persons sleep in it every night. This here seller you couldent swing a cat in, and the rent is five shillings a week; but theare are greate many sich deare sellars. Sur, we hope you will let us have our complaints put into your hinfluenshall paper, and make these landlords of our houses and these comishioners (the friends we spose of the landlords) make our houses decent for Christions to live in. Preaye Sir com and see us, for we are living like piggs, and it aint faire we shoulde be so ill treted.
“We are your respeckfull servents in Church Lane, Carrier St., and the other corts. Teusday, Juley 3, 1849.”
“London Fire Brigade is calling for a spotlight to be shone on the growing problem of the capital’s fire trap “hidden housing.” The Brigade says there is emerging evidence of a growth in ad-hoc “back garden developments” which see sheds and other unsuitable buildings being used as accommodation… Rita Dexter, Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said: “Beds in sheds, garages being used as housing, industrial units being used as sleeping accommodation – these are all potentially lethal fire traps. It’s inevitable that people living in these shoddy developments rely on far riskier ways of heating, cooking and lighting their home. They are also being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who are happy to take their money without any regard for their safety.” In November fire safety inspectors in Brent swooped to close a number of commercial buildings being used as living accommodation by around 150 people after uncovering some of the worst fire safety risks they had ever seen. The Brigade was alerted to the problem following a fire in an office block where firefighters rescued six people. A subsequent inspection of the building revealed a seventeen rooms with over 50 people living in them. Fire safety officers found virtually no fire safety features inside and believe a more fire serious fire could easily have ripped through the entire building and residents would have struggled to escape.”
- London Fire Brigade, News Release 23 January 2012
- Trafalgar Square Shanty, Robert Graves and Didier Madoc, Postcards from the Future
February 12, 2012