Essex Road Is Full Of Semi-Criminals

By M@ Last edited 143 months ago
Essex Road Is Full Of Semi-Criminals
poverty and wealth.jpg

Or at least it used to be, according to Charles Booth’s famous poverty maps from the end of the Victorian era.

His maps show the haves and have-nots in glorious Technicolor; yellow for ‘Upper-middle and Upper classes. Wealthy’; black for ‘Lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal’.

The Charles Booth Online Archive have recently made the maps available online. Helpfully, the site displays a modern map alongside the Booth original, so it’s easy to see which bit of town you’ve zoomed in on.

One of the most striking observations is that pockets of poverty often nestle up to streets of great wealth; a quirk of London that still exists today. And the east-west divide is very clear.

Does anyone know if a modern version of the map exists? We're curious as to how they'd colour the Archer household in Vauxhall - yellow or black both seem apt.

Last Updated 12 May 2006

Paul Mison

Oddly enough, the Economist ran a story last week about using the 2001 census data to compare modern London with Charles Booth's map. However, there's only a few small sections of the city on their site, and indeed it seems they've only analysed a bit of Chelsea.

The conclusion does seem to be that if a bit of London was poor in the 1880s it probably still is, though.


the economist did an article this week about the old maps and a modern version, but i'm not sure where you can find the ones. if someone has access to this week's economist....