Slum children of the Victorian England’s era

Slum children of the Victorian England’s era
Filthy-looking children stand around a street fountain in Battersea, South West London, in the 1880s. This photograph is just one of a remarkable series of recently unearthed images which reveal the desperate lives of poor children in Victorian Britain.
May 19 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 5/19/2019 12:38:48 PM IST

 From bedraggled youngsters posing on the kerb to others standing around a fountain, remarkable photographs reveals the desperate lives of poor children in Victorian Britain.

The recently unearthed images were taken across London in the 1880s and 90s by photographer Paul Martin, who was known to have had a fascination with the lower classes and capturing 'ordinary' people on camera. One of the most striking pictures showed three children looking mischievous as they sat on the edge of the pavement in 1892 filthy clothes and their faces covered in dirt - with only one of them wearing shoes. Mr Martin wrote in a caption to the image: 'I called them human squirrels, for when they caught the sight of the school inspector, they were over a six-foot paling in a flash, and made off to Lambeth Walk.' Other pictures show sad characters, such as two people sleeping on a bench at St James's Park, while a picture captured in the 1880s entitled 'Old Surrey Tramp' shows a melancholic-looking man sat on the River Mole. 

The 19th century brought a population explosion in Britain, with London suffering from severe overcrowding and the poor living in cramped and filthy conditions amid a major housing shortage. Many poor children survived by stealing and were unable to go to school because their families relied on them to bring in extra money to help. But by the 1870s education started to improve, with every child given a place. However, this was only mandatory for children aged five to ten, although the leaving age was increased to 11 by 1893 - although many parents still stopped them going to school because they were making money working. 

(Mark Duell for Mailonline)

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