London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew is an extraordinary work of investigative journalism, a work of literature, and a groundbreaking work of sociology. It centres on hundreds of interviews conducted by Mayhew with London’s street traders, beggars, and thieves, which provide unprecedented insight into the day-to-day struggle for survival on London’s streets in the 19th century.
In the video below, our edition’s editor, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, explains why he believes it is still well worth reading today. The interview was conducted by George Miller for Podularity. Robert has previously written this post for OUPblog.