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Vagabonds: Life on the Streets of Nineteenth-century London – by BBC New Generation Thinker

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Vagabonds: Life on the Streets of Nineteenth-century London – by BBC New Generation Thinker by Oskar Jensen

As seen:

  • Wolfson History Prize 2023 Shortlist

By Oskar Jensen

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Until now, our view of bustling late Georgian and Victorian London has been filtered through its great chroniclers, who did not themselves come from poverty – Dickens, Mayhew, Gustave Doré. Their visions were dazzling in their way, censorious, often theatrical. Now, for the first time, this innovative social history brilliantly – and radically – shows us the city’s most compelling period (1780–1870) at street level.

From beggars and thieves to musicians and missionaries, porters and hawkers to sex workers and street criers, Jensen unites a breadth of original research and first-hand accounts and testimonies to tell their stories in their own words. What emerges is a buzzing, cosmopolitan world of the working classes, diverse in gender, ethnicity, origin, ability and occupation – a world that challenges and fascinates us still.

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