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Money in the east end.

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  • Money in the east end.

    Does anyone have an idea how much the average worker in the east end would have been earning? I'm thinking of a general laborer, It would also be interesting to know how much the average drink would have cost in the pub?

    I am asking this as quite a few of the locals at the time of the killings (although subject to terrible poverty and living conditions) seemed to find the money to have a good drink and presumably find money for lodgings.
    I would imagine that most of the locals living in and around the slums lived hand to mouth on a daily basis but always seemed to have a bit of cash for drinking and dare i say, the odd prostitute (judging by the large number of whores)
    I can fully understand why they would turn to drink looking at the conditions!

  • #2
    http://www.victorianlondon.org/finance/money.htm
    Last edited by cappuccina; 04-07-2009, 10:54 PM.
    Cheers,
    cappuccina

    "Don't make me get my flying monkeys!"

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    • #3
      Hi Madcyryl,

      Many east end workers were casual labourers and not in regular work. For example, they may have secured a few days work at the docks by turning up early each day and being selected for work. Others found casual work in the street markets or the sweatshops and slaughter houses. Others were hawkers of various sorts.

      There are some wonderful descriptions of east end workers and the pay they earned in Henry Mayhews London Labour and the London Poor. Mayhew goes into great detail concerning the work people did, how much they earned, how much they spent on rent, food and drink, the language they spoke and other interesting information.

      I suppose some of the reasons why poor east enders drank, used protitutes and spent their money as they earned it was that they realised life really was 'nasty, brutish and short' (Tom Paine? Or was it Hobbs?). As Rumbelow points out, labouring work was hard and made men build up a hunger and a thirst so the money didn't last long. Poor people often died young so there prevailed an attitude of 'live now and enjoy what you can'. Most of them realised their position was hopeless - they were born poor and were likely to remain poor - why not blot it all out with a few tots of gin?

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      • #4
        Thanks for the info, I agree with your thoughts limehouse regarding the short life expectancy and living conditions. Who would have dared deny them a drink!

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        • #5
          From a large-scale Government survey of working-class wages - actually carried out in Whitechapel, St George's East and neighbouring districts in late Autumn 1887:

          Click image for larger version

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          This would be about as definitive as it gets.
          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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          • #6
            Great link, Caps. Thank you.
            Kind regards, Sam Flynn

            "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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            • #7
              Its interesting that the as the jobs get better the percentage of wage which they are prepared to spend on rent goes up.
              In order to know virtue, we must first aquaint ourselves with vice!

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              • #8
                Hi Kat,
                Originally posted by KatBradshaw View Post
                Its interesting that the as the jobs get better the percentage of wage which they are prepared to spend on rent goes up.
                Try telling that to the poor hawkers and costermongers! They really got a rough deal - the worst wages going, and they paid a higher percentage on rent than anyone else.
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                • #9
                  Oh yeah!! I missed them! Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe that is purely down to quite how little they did earn.
                  In order to know virtue, we must first aquaint ourselves with vice!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Graph showing comparative Wages vs Rent

                    Interestingly, it seems that rents were fairly consistent across the board in the scheme of things, so that those who earned more were arguably disproportionately better off than the poorer earners. Plus ça change...

                    Click image for larger version

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                    Notes:

                    1. The black dashed lines are trend-lines.

                    2. The hawkers/costers, far left of graph, fall short of the Wages trend by a fair margin, despite being almost "on par" with how much rent they payed. These really were the poorest of the poor.

                    3. I've used the arbitrary conversion factor of "1 shilling = 10d" across the board, for simplicity. A shilling was actually 12d, but never mind - it's the comparative value I was interested in.
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                    • #11
                      Well no shame in being corrected by a Master
                      In order to know virtue, we must first aquaint ourselves with vice!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KatBradshaw View Post
                        Well no shame in being corrected by a Master
                        Only a dabbler, Kat - and certainly no shame either Indeed, you were quite right in a way - there's a modest increase in rent that rises along with the weekly wage, but it's more than compensated-for by the additional money in the highest earners' pay-packets. And, by the way, the "highest earners" weren't exactly well-off, either - as high as the right-hand side of the graph gets, we're still talking about firmly working-class jobs.
                        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                        • #13
                          Oh of course but certain jobs may have wanted to try for more of a lower middle class status and seen themselves above the other areas. If that makes sense.
                          In order to know virtue, we must first aquaint ourselves with vice!

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                          • #14
                            Im amazed by how much a clerk was paid,way more than a policeman even.Things have changed now its a mainly female occupation and ordinary clerks are very badly paid

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                            • #15
                              Does anyone know the exact cost of drinks (beers, whisky, gin) in the East End pubs ?
                              I wonder how much I'd have to pay, in 1888, to get plastered.

                              Amitiés,
                              David

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