Respectability and the London Poor, 1780-1870
The population of London soared during the Industrial Revolution and the poorer areas became iconic places of overcrowding and vice. Recent studies of the 'civilizing mission' of middle-class Londoners determined to instigate social reform, have treated the poor as a single, uniform group. Though a gradual shift towards respectability is indisputable, MacKay argues for a more fragmentary picture. Focusing on the communities of Westminster, she shows that many of the plebeian populace retained traditional working-class pursuits, such as gambling, drinking and blood sports.
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