Living Standards in 1890

Shoreditch in 1890 was not an upper class area, however, it should not be labelled as the lowest class area either. It leaned more towards a mix of middle class to lower working class group, who comfortable living conditions despite being in the East End of London.

To understand the characteristics of Shoreditch, the first thing that was looked at was Charles Booth’s map. This map was created not only to show what London looked like but to also visualise exactly what living conditions were like in certain areas and how it had spread. It showed Shoreditch to have a range of people living, mainly from “Middle Class” to “Very Poor, Casual. Chronic want.” and some of the “Lowest Class. Vicious. Semi-thugs”. There was a pattern showing those of similar classes being clumped together along the same roads, and those categorised as the lowest class would be tucked away between slightly higher classes.

By looking at the Medical Health Report, it helps visualise Shoreditch in 1890. The statistics show the death by diseases main cause was bronchitis. Bronchitis is a disease that is common among those who smoked or were exposed to high pollution, and the results showed the majority were above the age of 55 (209 of the 489 deaths).

The report also helps show how each area was affected in proportion to deaths and the living conditions of each area. Such could be seen in the areas labelled as “Shoreditch South” and “Haggerston” in both the map and report. In Shoreditch South, the map labels parts of the area housed by lowest class groups of people. On the report, it shows an average of 19.4 deaths for every 1000 people living in the area. However, in Haggerston, an area that doubled the population of Shoreditch South, was mainly inhabited by “Fairly Comfortable” to “Very Poor” people, but not a single “Lowest Class” group. In this area, if one were to disregard the deaths at the infirmary and hospital, the average death per 1000 would be 18.29. The different of classes in each area shows a clear change of living standards by the amount of deaths in the area.

Overall, the map and the report shows that Shoreditch in 1890 was indeed an area of London which had experienced a fair amount of death but that was due to the amount lower class civilians living in the area. In Shoreditch, the worse the living conditions were for the people, the more likely they were going to die.

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