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THE ETERNAL SLUM; Housing and Social Policy in Victorian London.

Wohl, Anthony S.

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ISBN 10: 0773503110 / ISBN 13: 9780773503113
Published by McGill-Queens Univ. Press, 1977
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Bolin Creek Books (Carrboro, NC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

brown cloth, 1st ed. (1977), 386 pages in Very Good (unevenly faded) Dust Jacket. Ink underlines in preface & on final page of text only, otherwise unmarked. Bookseller Inventory # 233982

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Bibliographic Details

Title: THE ETERNAL SLUM; Housing and Social Policy ...

Publisher: McGill-Queens Univ. Press

Publication Date: 1977

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


The problem of how, where, and on what terms to house the urban masses in an industrial society remains unresolved to this day. In nineteenth-century Victorian England, overcrowding was the most obvious characteristic of urban housing and, despite constant agitation, it remained widespread and persistent in London and other great cities such as Manchester, Glasgow, and Liverpool well into the twentieth century. The Eternal Slum is the first full-length examination of working-class housing issues in a British town. The city investigated not only provided the context for the development of a national policy but also, in scale and variety of response, stood in the vanguard of housing reform. The failure of traditional methods of social amelioration in mid-century, the mounting storm of public protest, the efforts of individual philanthropists, and then the gradual formulation and application of new remedies, constituted a major theme: the need for municipal enterprise and state intervention. Meanwhile, the concept of overcrowding, never precisely defined in law but based on middle-class notions of decency and privacy, slowly gave way to the positive idea of adequate living space, with comfort, as much as health or morals, the criterion.Not just dwellings but people were at issue. There is little evidence in this period of the attitude of the worker himself to his housing. Wohl has extensively researched local archives and, in particular, drawn on the vestry reports which have been relatively neglected. Profusely illustrated with contemporary photographs and drawings, this book is the definitive study of the housing reform movement in Victorian and Edwardian London and suggests what it was really like to live under such appalling conditions. This important study will be of interest to social historians, British historians, urban planners, and those interested in how social policies developed in previous eras.

About the Author:

Anthony S. Wohl was born in London in 1937. He read history at Cambridge before turning his attention to the subject of this book for his PhD at Brown University in Rhode Island. He has taught at Vassar College since 1963 and is now Ellery Professor of History there. He has served terms as a visiting lecturer to the Universities of Leicester and British Columbia. He is also author of Endangered Lives: Public Health in Victorian and Edwardian England and editor of The Bitter Cry of Outcast London, The Victorian Family: Structure and Stresses, and Ragged London in 1861.

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