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Whitechapel Society presentation June 2008

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  • Whitechapel Society presentation June 2008

    Hi All, The Whitechapel Society can announce that this Saturday, 7th June, our speaker Sarah Wise will be using her presentation as a book lauch and signing session.

    'The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum '

    Full details of the meeting can be found on our website - www.whitechapelsociety.com

    Join the Whitechapel Society today!

    Frogg Moody.

    Here is the book press release for this not to be missed meeting.

    The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
    Publisher: Bodley Head, £20, 1st June 2008

    Using a rich archival store, Sarah Wise reconstructs how life was really lived in the Old Nichol - the 15-acre area of London's East End with a reputation for criminality, disease and dilapidation that was so bad in 1887 that inspectors for a quasi-governmental commission were sent in to report on conditions.

    The inspectors discovered horrifying living conditions in the Old Nichol's 30 or so streets and learned of how these rotting, 100 year-old houses were in fact among the most lucrative property in London for their owners - who included peers of the realm, local politicians, churchmen and lawyers. Profits of as much as 150% per annum could be made by slumlords, and one estimate in the Daily Telegraph of 1889 stated that per cubic foot, the rents of these death-traps were between four and ten times those charged in Belgravia and Mayfair.

    The Blackest streets explores the real lives behind the myths about the Old Nichol, and turns the gaze back on the 'respectable' observers and their various theories about how to solve the poverty problem. Some of their more extreme suggestions included mass forced emigration, internment camps and the prevention of breeding - in line with contemporary 'racial degeneration' theory. Anarchists and Communists also came to explore and to gauge to what extent revolutionary feeling might exist among the very poor. But the Nichol was also a battleground of religious thinking, with various shades of Protestantism doing battle with each other - and with religious apathy - to save souls.

    As with Sarah Wise's acclaimed debut book The Italian Boy (2004), The Blackest Streets is a portrait of one era giving way to another, and she reveals that a much more complex mix of population existed among the chronically poor than many commentators were aware of. She puts back on record tales of endurance and kindness, while analysing the social and political structures that created and sustained this black hole at the heart of the Empire.

    Sarah Wise is the author of The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London (Jonathan Cape), which was shortlisted for the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and won the Crime Writers' Association 2005 Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. She lives in central London and reviews for the Daily Telegraph and the Literary Review.

  • #2
    Thanks for the heads-up, Frogg,

    I am sure Sarah Wise covers this shameful episode in her book [which I will be buying], but for those who, like me, cannot attend her Whitechapel Society presentation I hope the attached New York Times article [23 October 1888] proves illuminating.

    Click image for larger version

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    Not to put too fine a point on things, despite all his noble words and motivations Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Leader of the House of Lords and "leading authority on the housing of the poor", appears to have been little more than just another greedy, grasping b*stard.

    It is well to remember when considering social conditions during the WM with just how much contempt the privileged classes viewed others less fortunate.

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    Regards,

    Simon
    Last edited by Simon Wood; 06-01-2008, 09:11 PM. Reason: pun,ctu.a;shun
    Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for that Simon,
      I have been looking forward to this particular meeting for ages and Paul Begg recently told me that he has great respect for Sarah.

      For those who are unable to make the meeting, a full report will appear in our August edition of the Whitechapel Journal.

      On the subject of the Journal, we have a great line-up of articles in the June edition including;

      REVISITING THE MAYBRICK 'DIARY' BY BILL BEADLE
      KLOSOWSKI'S HASTINGS BY MARK BRIDGER
      BRIAN L. PORTER TALKS ABOUT THE WRITING OF HIS BOOK, 'A STUDY IN SCARLET'.
      MAP OF THE DAY BY JOHN BENNETT
      ANDY & SUE PARLOUR ON THEIR FAMILY INVOLVEMENT IN THE MATCHGIRLS STRIKE OF 1888.
      A REPORT ON THE RECENT TALK GIVEN TO THE WS BY SHIRLEY HARRISON
      THE WALL TILE PICTURES OF EAST END PUBS BY FROGG MOODY
      AND MUCH MORE!

      DON'T MISS OUT, SUBSCRIBE TODAY BY GOING TO;
      www.whitechapelsociety.com

      Frogg Moody

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
        Thanks for the heads-up, Frogg,

        I am sure Sarah Wise covers this shameful episode in her book [which I will be buying], but for those who, like me, cannot attend her Whitechapel Society presentation I hope the attached New York Times article [23 October 1888] proves illuminating.

        [ATTACH]2003[/ATTACH]

        Not to put too fine a point on things, despite all his noble words and motivations Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Leader of the House of Lords and "leading authority on the housing of the poor", appears to have been little more than just another greedy, grasping b*stard.

        It is well to remember when considering social conditions during the WM with just how much contempt the privileged classes viewed others less fortunate.

        Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

        Regards,

        Simon
        Thanks for that luminating little news piece Simon.I am not surprised.I mean an awful lot of Salisbury"s trouble with "Fenians"/ " The Irish Nationalists "etc in the 1880"s, was due to himself and the rest of the British Government rejecting Irish Home Rule .Why so? Well Bill Clinton had the answer in a slightly different context----didnt he say, 'Its the economy stupid"?---Or put simply,its due to greed! As was the slum landlording of Lord Salisbury in 1888,the condition of the poor in the East End , the troubles over the "Fenians" you name it -----plus c'est la meme chose!
        BTW-the meeting sounds good,must try to make it.
        Last edited by Natalie Severn; 06-02-2008, 01:12 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Simon

          Thanks for the information about Cecil Court which has always been one of my favourite London streets. Some interesting stuff about it here:

          http://www.cecilcourt.co.uk/
          allisvanityandvexationofspirit

          Comment


          • #6
            And here I thought I was the only one who knew about Cecil Court. It's always among the first places I head to in London...especially Nigel Williams' fascinating, if pricey, book shop.

            Comment


            • #7
              Is Cecil Court the place where Edwin Bush killed a lady shopkeeper who made a racist slur at him in 1961?

              PHILIP
              Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah, that's right...at number 23.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm really looking forward to this meeting and the book. One of my ancestors was recorded as living in New Nichol Street in 1861. He was a silk weaver who had previously lived in Bacon Street, off Brick Lane in 1851.

                  JB
                  Last edited by John Bennett; 06-05-2008, 08:57 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cheers John,
                    I look forward to seeing you there tonight. The presentation is also a book launch and signing session with the book at a reduced price.

                    This is going to be a superb meeting so be there!

                    Sarah Wise - Book Launch and presentation

                    Frogg Moody.


                    The Blackest Streets - Sarah WiseThe Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum

                    Publisher: Bodley Head, £20, 1st June 2008

                    Using a rich archival store, Sarah Wise reconstructs how life was really lived in the Old Nichol - the 15-acre area of London's East End with a reputation for criminality, disease and dilapidation that was so bad in 1887 that inspectors for a quasi-governmental commission were sent in to report on conditions.

                    The inspectors discovered horrifying living conditions in the Old Nichol's 30 or so streets and learned of how these rotting, 100 year-old houses were in fact among the most lucrative property in London for their owners - who included peers of the realm, local politicians, churchmen and lawyers. Profits of as much as 150% per annum could be made by slumlords, and one estimate in the Daily Telegraph of 1889 stated that per cubic foot, the rents of these death-traps were between four and ten times those charged in Belgravia and Mayfair.

                    The Blackest streets explores the real lives behind the myths about the Old Nichol, and turns the gaze back on the 'respectable' observers and their various theories about how to solve the poverty problem. Some of their more extreme suggestions included mass forced emigration, internment camps and the prevention of breeding - in line with contemporary 'racial degeneration' theory. Anarchists and Communists also came to explore and to gauge to what extent revolutionary feeling might exist among the very poor. But the Nichol was also a battleground of religious thinking, with various shades of Protestantism doing battle with each other - and with religious apathy - to save souls.

                    As with Sarah Wise's acclaimed debut book The Italian Boy (2004), The Blackest Streets is a portrait of one era giving way to another, and she reveals that a much more complex mix of population existed among the chronically poor than many commentators were aware of. She puts back on record tales of endurance and kindness, while analysing the social and political structures that created and sustained this black hole at the heart of the Empire.

                    Sarah Wise is the author of The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London (Jonathan Cape), which was shortlisted for the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and won the Crime Writers' Association 2005 Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. She lives in central London and reviews for the Daily Telegraph and the Literary Review.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Damn!! would love to have been there- but it's decreed to be my birthday tomorrow so am out on the waz today and probably spend my birthday reading the boards and finding out what happened!! Photos please!!!

                      Suzi x

                      Alan- get me a book will pay ya!
                      'Would you like to see my African curiosities?'

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Folks,

                        As was pointed out by Ally last February: Also just to remind/point out that there is a sub-forum under General Discussion called "Conferences and Meetings". The WS society meetings can be posted there with these forum dedicated to discussing articles in the journal.
                        "To expose [the Senator] is rather like performing acts of charity among the deserving poor; it needs to be done and it makes one feel good, but it does nothing to end the problem."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          To all involved.... thank you so much.

                          Last night was a top evening. The talk was fascinating and there was plenty of social to be had too. Sarah Wise seemed to cover a lot of bases, and her early dispelling of the 'Nichol Gang' myth, based on her own research, saved me asking the question! I mentioned to her about my ancestor and because she obviously reads the boards, she told me my own surname before I could! I was pleasantly taken aback.

                          Probably the best WS1888 meeting I've been to so far.

                          Just started Sarah's book, which has gripped me from the word go.

                          As an aside, just in the first chapter alone, I've realised that not only do I have late 19th century ancestors from New Nichol Street and Bacon Street, but also Ann's Place and New Turville Street, from both my mother's and father's sides.

                          My grandparents also lived in Calvert Street in the early 1940s.

                          And I thought my fascination with the East End was because I used to fancy myself as a bit of a Ripperologist. What a turnup for the books.

                          JB

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It was a very fine evening. Sarah's presentation was excellent. Glad I made the decision to be in London this month so I could hear it.

                            Jana
                            “Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hello all,
                              Thanks for all the many messages regarding Sarah Wise at last nights WS meeting. I also really enjoyed her presentation and started reading her book today.

                              I will be writing to Sarah to thank her and I will pass on all your messages.

                              See you all in August!

                              Frogg.

                              Comment

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