The Victorians left their architectural mark all over London, including famous landmarks like Royal Albert Hall and St Pancras Railway Station, and the countless large, terraced houses that fetch high prices today. But what about the Victorians who couldn’t afford such luxury, like Jo from Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, who was caught between homelessness and the workhouse?
In nineteenth–century London, there were tens of thousands who moved from place to place renting a room, or, for a few pennies, just a bed, by the week or night in cramped lodging houses. Those who couldn’t afford this turned to the workhouse, to refuges or slept rough.
Geffrye Museum exhibition 2015
Beginning at the start of Victoria’s reign, Homes for the Homeless traces how, from the 1840s on, the housing situation for London’s poor deteriorated as slums were cleared and housing demolished to make way for the railways. Stations at Blackwall, Fenchurch Street, Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Victoria, and the new transport connections carved up the city. At the same time, people were flocking to London to find work as the Industrial Revolution powered on. The population of London soared, and so did rent.
Diaries, paintings and photographs, oral testaments and objects bring to life the spaces in London inhabited by the poor and reveal how people negotiated the infamous workhouse system.
At the same time, a collaborative display from New Horizon Youth Centre, Kings Cross, discusses young people's experiences of homelessness today.
Homes for the Homeless unearths tales from our Victorian London and throws up thought-provoking questions about housing problems - past, present and future.
|What||Homes of the Homeless: Seeking Shelter in Victorian London, The Geffrye Museum|
|Where||The Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, London , E2 8EA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Old Street (underground)|
24 Mar 15 – 12 Jul 15, Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm
|Price||£5 for adults, £3 for concessions|
|Website||Click here for more details|