West Ham and the River Lea: A Social and Environmental History of London's Industrialized Marshland, 1839-1914
Published by: UBC Press
Imprint: UBC Press
Sales Date: 2018-03-15
Published: March 2018
244 Pages, 6.04 x 8.95 x 0.55 in, 21 maps, 15 b&w photos, 7 graphs
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During the nineteenth century, London’s population grew by more than five million as people flocked from the countryside to the city to take up jobs in shops and factories. In West Ham and the River Lea, Jim Clifford explores the growth of London’s most populous independent suburb and the degradation of its second largest river, bringing to light the consequences of these developments on social democracy and urban politics in Greater London.
Drawing on Ordnance Surveys and archival materials, Jim Clifford uses historical geographic information systems to map the migration of Greater London’s industry into West Ham’s marshlands and reveals the consequences for the working-class people who lived among the factories. He argues that an unstable and unhealthy environment fuelled protest and political transformation. Poverty, pollution, water shortages, infectious disease, floods, and an unemployment crisis provided an opening for a new urban politics to emerge.
By exploring the intersection of pollution, poverty, and instability, Clifford establishes the importance of the urban environment in the development of social democracy in Greater London at the turn of the twentieth century.
West Ham, Clifford shows, was beset by intersecting social, administrative, technical, and environmental problems, and their consequences were felt quite unequally … Such nuance and detail is perhaps this book’s major contribution. William M. Calvert, The University of St. Thomas, Environmental History
Clifford draws welcome attention to part of Greater London frequently neglected in historical scholarship due to its proximity to London yet independent status … West Ham and the River Lea provides a view of the social and environmental impacts of West Ham’s industrialization with an emphasis on the sanitary experiences of people living in the borough during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.Nicola Tynan, Dickinson College, London Journal