HOME Mikes Links
Extract from Dickens's Dictionary of London 1888
Every establishment of this kind throughout the metropolis is now under direct and continual police supervision; every room being inspected and measured before occupation, a placard being hung up in each stating the number of beds for which it is licensed, calculated upon the basis of a minimum allowance of space for each person. Every bed, moreover, has to be furnished weekly with a complete supply of fresh linen, whilst careful provision is made for the ventilation of the rooms, the windows of which are also thrown open throughout the house at 10 a.m.
In its way there are few things more striking, than the comparative sweetness of these dormitories, even when crowded with tramps and thieves of the lowest class. The common sitting-rooms on the ground floor are not, it must be confessed, always equally above reproach. In all cases the men's and women's dormitories are separate; rooms devoted to married couples being partitioned off in the fashion of the old square-pewed churches, and into separate pens upon about the same scale. The mixed lodging-houses - or those at which both sexes are received - are comparatively few, the general practice being for each house to confine itself to one class. All have a common sitting-room on the ground floor, with a fire at which the lodgers can cook their victuals. In a few instances these supplies can be obtained in the house itself.
About the best sample of this kind of establishment extant will be found at St. George's Chambers, St. George's Street, London Docks (vulgo, Ratcliff Highway), a thorough poor man's hotel, where a comfortable bed, with use of sitting-room, cooking apparatus and fire, and laundry accommodation (soap included) can be had for 4d. a night; all kinds of provisions being obtainable in the bar at proportionate rates. To anyone interested in the condition of the London poor, this establishment is well worth a journey to the East End to visit. On the other hand, the following is a list of streets or places in the metropolis in which common lodging houses of the lower class are situate:
Police Division R
Baildon Street, Deptford Church Street, Deptford Gove Street, Deptford Mill Lane, Deptford New King Street, Deptford Watergate Street, Deptford Canon Row, Woolwich High Street, Lower End, Woolwich Market Hill, Woolwich Nile Street, Woolwich Rope Yard Rails, Woolwich