Down And Out In Eighteenth-Century London

Written by Tim Hitchcock
Review by Troy Reed

In this well-researched volume, Tim Hitchcock, Professor of History at the University of Hertfordshire, offers a scholarly look at the beggars and the poor of London during the 18th century. Hitchcock explores the day-to-day life of beggars as they struggle to find the means to survive in the burgeoning city. Beggars were an integral part of society, performing the tasks and jobs that no one else wanted to do, in return for a little charity. The book seeks to give a voice to the poor and reshape how they have been portrayed by other historians in the past. This time period in London’s history is shown through their perspective rather than through the eyes of the upper classes.

Hitchcock has written an invaluable resource that is a historian’s and writer’s dream, complete with a mixture of letters, personal narratives, government documents, and illustrations. These features and Hitchcock’s writing style make this volume a treasure trove of material that brings the 18th-century London streets to life with sounds, smells, sights, and life stories. Down and Out in Eighteenth-Century London is a highly recommended work.