Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Regency snippets - Population - London and other towns.

The Regency snippets which I have been uploading are taken from a file of notes that I compiled.

"Of England's own 10,000,000 a tenth lived in the capital. Apart from its suburbs of new villas it was really five towns, the mercantile City, the royal West End, the riverside port, the Borough of Southwark, and the slums.These last croweded out of sight though not always out of smell of the rich, behind the grander houses and spread ever futher eastwards into the Essex and Kentish meadows, leaving a string of low, dingy towns on either side of the Thames. They were still what they had been in the Middle Ages, fever-ridden haunts of vice and wretchedness:a maze of alleys and lanes fading into the unwholdesome vapour that always overhung them, of dirty, tumbledown houses with windows patched with rags and blackened paper, and airless courts crowded with squabbling women and half-naked children wallowing in pools and kennels (channels which carried refuse away.)

"Apart from London there were only two towns in England, Manchester and Liverpool with 100,000 inhabitants and five others - Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham, leeds and Sheffield with over 50,000."

The Age of Elegance.
Chapter Five - Triumphant Island.
Arthur Bryant.