19th Century London

  • Category: History
  • Words: 231
  • Grade: 65
From the middle ages on, and well into the nineteenth century, much of London was violent and squalid. During the eighteenth century, the poor and the unemployed frequently occupied themselves, as Hogarth demonstrated, by drinking themselves into insensibility; one doctor reported that one of every eight Londoners drank themselves to death. In 1742 London had one gin-shop for every seventy-five inhabitants. During the 1740's the English consumed 7 million gallons of gin, as opposed to 1 million gallons during the 1780's, when it was heavily taxed.
London epitomized the process of social stratification which took place in Great Britain. As the city grew in size, the poor became increasingly crowded into the filthy slums in the eastern part of the city while the merchant and the professional classes and the gentry established themselves in the fashionable suburbs in the west. The Gordon Riots of 1780, for example, (which Charles Dickens made the focus of Barnaby Rudge) were ostensibly motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment, but were a manifestation of the deep hostility which the poor felt for the wealthy. Homes were attacked, looted, and burned, Newgate and Fleet Prisons were attacked and their prisoners released, and troops were required to restore order.
1801 Population stands at 900,000
1901 Death of Queen Victoria. Population reaches 6.5 million
1918-39 Population of Greater London grows to 8.7 million, but the number of people living in the City shrinks

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