Original watercolour of Wych Street, London, 1860

Description

Although this watercolour painting depicts Wych Street, London, as a clean and respectable shopping street, contemporary reports provide a different story. In the 19th century the narrow Wych Street contained poor quality housing and was regarded as an unrespectable area due to its shops selling erotic prints; it is believed that Charles Dickens drew inspiration from the location, notably for Tom-all-Alone in Bleak House.

Full title:
Original watercolour of Wych Street, 1860. [from the author's presentation copy of The Life of Dickens, 1872-74]
Created:
1860
Format:
Artwork / Image
Creator:
unknown [artist], John Forster [compiler]
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Dex.316. - Vol II, part I

Full catalogue details

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Slums

Article by:
Judith Flanders
Themes:
London, Poverty and the working classes

Judith Flanders examines the state of housing for the 19th-century urban poor, assessing the ‘improvements’ carried out in slum areas and the efforts of writers, including Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew, to publicise such living conditions.

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