Sunday, September 03, 2006

The vicious, semi-criminal classes

Have you ever seen Booth's poverty maps of London? Although over a century old, they strike us as particularly relevant at the moment. Booth colour-coded London's streets to indicate the social quality of the residents. In the 'Black' position we have 'Lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal':
The lowest class which consists of some occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals. Their life is the life of savages, with vicissitudes of extreme hardship and their only luxury is drink
Faring only slightly better are the Dark Blues, a class that:
is not one in which men are born and live and die so much as a deposit of those who from mental, moral and physical reasons are incapable of better work.
And so on up the social scale. Plus ca change.

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