Period 3: London—New Riches, New Squalor (1781–1870)

  • Geoffrey G. Hiller
  • Peter L. Groves
  • Alan F. Dilnot


This introduction considers the alarming growth in extent and population of London in the Industrial Revolution and its social consequences, an increase not just in size but in diversity, thanks to the arrival of immigrants drawn by Britain’s religious toleration, its political liberties and its economic opportunities. Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, for example, were beginning late in the eighteenth century to supplement those who had come earlier from Western Europe. Among the crowds Wordsworth observes on the streets of London in the 1790s are not just “The Frenchman and the Spaniard,” or even “The Swede, the Russian”, but also American Indians, “Moors, / Malays, Lascars, the Tartar and Chinese, / And Negro Ladies in white muslin gowns” (The Prelude 1805, 7.235–43). The introduction looks at the railways, and their enablement of suburbanisation, and at the beginnings of social and political reform, including the expanding base of education and the consequent creation of a broad reading public.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey G. Hiller
    • 1
  • Peter L. Groves
    • 2
  • Alan F. Dilnot
    • 3
  1. 1.Glen IrisAustralia
  2. 2.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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