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Henry Mayhew (1812-1887) was a notable Victorian journalist. He left for posterity a highly readable and memorable three-volume book, London Labour and the London Poor (1851): three volumes based on 82 letters written for the Morning Chronicle in 1849 and 1850. Packed with anecdote, it is unusual in the rich literature of poverty in London. This volume offers a selection from these letters, each of which averaged 10,500 words - a total of nearly one million words. "Do you read the Morning Chronicle?" Douglas Jerrold asked Mrs Cowden Clarke in February 1850. "Do you devour those marvellous revelations of the inferno of misery, of wretchedness, that is smouldering under our feet? ...To read of the suffering of one class, and the avarice, the tyranny, the pocket cannibalism of the other, makes one almost wonder that the world should go on..."
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