As part of 'London: Another Country ?' on Radio 4, five short features in which the voices of the poor of Victorian London throw into sharp relief the underprivileged of today's London.
The present-day is heard through interviews, the Victorian stories are voiced by actors from the verbatim transcripts made in the 1850s by the pioneer of London oral history, Henry Mayhew, author of "London Labour and the London Poor".
It is impossible to read Mayhew without being struck by how little has changed.
The rough sleepers of Mayhew's West End are there today too, there are always girls forced to walk the streets under-age, the market stall-holders still flaunt their stock, hen parties look for "grotesque" dancing to enjoy as the Victorians did the "penny gaff" and mudlarks go on working the shore of the Thames.
The Mayhew extracts are abridged by Penny Gold whose Afternoon Play "A Chaos of Wealth and Want", examines an incident in the life of Mayhew as he was compiling the interviews for his history, is being broadcast on Radio 4 this week.
In Part 1 we hear those living rough then and now, about the hardship and risks of living on the streets of London.
|02||Street Sellers And Costers||20100706|
In Part 2 we hear stories from London street sellers and market traders, both from Victorian times and the present day.
In Part 3 we hear from sex workers who ply their trade in modern London, as well as hearing testimony from Victorian prostitutes.
|04||Street Cleaners And Scavengers||20100708|
In Part 4 we hear from present day street cleaners and recycling operatives, as well as from a modern mudlark, and from nineteenth-century scavengers.
|05 LAST||Entertainers And Revellers||20100709|
In Part 5 we hear about the raucous and bawdy Penny Gaff theatres of the 1850s, and compare this with a present-day London Hen Night, with contributions from male strippers.
The Mayhew extracts are abridged by Penny Gold whose Afternoon Play "A Chaos of Wealth and Want", examines an incident in the life of Mayhew as he was compiling the interviews for his history, is being broadcast on Radio 4 as part of the'London: Another Country' season.
Comparing the bawdy Penny Gaff theatres of the 1850s with a present day London hen night.