Life and Labour of the People in London

Life and Labour of the People in London was a multi-volume book by Charles Booth which provided a survey of the lives and occupations of the working class of late 19th century London. The first edition was published in two volumes as Life and Labour of the People, Vol. I (1889) and Labour and Life of the People, Vol II (1891).[1] The second edition was entitled Life and Labour of the People in London, and was produced in 9 volumes 1892-97. A third edition, running to a grand total of seventeen volumes appeared 1902-3.[2]

Part of Booth's poverty map showing Whitechapel 1889. The red areas are "well-to-do" and black areas are the "lowest class...occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals".
Colour key for Booth's poverty map.

A noteworthy feature of the study was the production of maps describing poverty (see illustration on the right). Levels of wealth and poverty found by the research's investigators being mapped out on a street by street basis.[3]

The notebooks used to carry out this investigation are held at the Archives Division of the British Library of Political and Economic Science (London School of Economics and Political Science).[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The reversal of the words in the title of the second volume was due to the original title "Life and Labour" being claimed by Samuel Smiles who wrote a similarly titled book in 1887.
  2. ^ Charles Booth's London(1969) edited by Albert Fried and Richard Elman. London, Hutchinson
  3. ^ Charles Booth's London website
  4. ^ Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London (1886-1903) (Charles Booth's London website)

External linksEdit