Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil or The Two Nations, new ed. (New York: George Routledge & Sons, 1927), 76.
Nor am I the first historian to suggest that Disraeli’s conceptualization of class was still relevant in the 1880s and 1890s. See Rob Sindall, Street Violence in the Nineteenth Century: Media Panic or Real Danger? (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1990), 162.
Gareth Stedman Jones, Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship between Classes in Victorian Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), 11
Jerry White, London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God (London: Vintage Books, 2007), 374.
Frank Mort and Miles Ogborn, “Transforming Metropolitan London, 1750–1960,” Journal of British Studies 43 (2004): 5.
There is a long historical tradition of seeing the world in binaries; historians now recognize the world was rarely actually so divided, but this should not blind us to the fact many contemporaries saw their city that way. Anne Humpherys, “Knowing the Victorian City: Writing and Representation,” Victorian Literature and Culture 30, no. 2 (2002): 604.
Adonis notes that while fear of social revolution was not unique to the 1880s, it was particularly prevalent then. It was not simply one group of political outliers or diehard aristocrats who felt this fear, but a more general sense of an imminent collapse of the entire social hierarchy. Andrew Adonis, Making Aristocracy Work: The Peerage and the Political System in Britain 1884–1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 241. He is not alone in pointing to increased critiques and pressures on the aristocratic classes starting in the 1880s. David Cannadine points out that the official inquiries into the extensive monopolies on land and wealth in the 1870s and 1880s and subsequent demands to legislate redistribution and heavier taxation on the rich gave the patrician class much to fear. Cannadine, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, 36
David Spring, “Land and Politics in Edwardian England,” Agricultural History 58, no. 1 (1984): 18
Norman Stone, Europe Transformed: 1818–1919, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 20, 32, 42.
Michael Bentley, Lord Salisbury’s World: Conservative Environments in Late Victorian Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 92.
While the 1832 Act might have been symbolically important, the redistribution of parliamentary seats combined with the extension of the franchise embodied in the 1884–1885 Act were dramatic. In essence, while 1832 and 1867 might have extended the vote, it was only in 1885 that parliamentary reform seriously attempted to “democratise the electoral system” of Great Britain. Mary Chadwick, “The Role of Redistribution in the Making of the Third Reform Act,” Historical Journal 19, no. 3 (1976): 666. The pitting of the two houses against each other in 1884–1885 can be seen as the first incarnation of the greater conflict in 1909–1911 leading to the political castration of the House of Lords. Paul Adelman, “THE PEERS versus THE PEOPLE,” History Today 35, no. 2 (1985): 24–30.
William Layton, Guide Populaire de Londres et ses Environs ainsi que de L’exposition Franco-Britannique (London: 1908), 41.
Asa Briggs, Victorian Cities (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 312.
Stephen Inwood, A History of London (London: Macmillan, 1998), 411. Roy Porter uses the more conservative Central London figures of 4.5 million residents in 1900; still a remarkable number. Roy Porter, London: A Social History (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994), 186.
Robert Park, “The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behaviour in the Urban Environment,” in Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities, ed. Richard Sennett (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969), 94.
By the mid-sixteenth century, the tone of the West End was set by a number of large houses; however, the space was still largely a heterogeneous area. It was not until the seventeenth century that the majority of the landed class moved west. Deliberate social distancing and residential segregation became an explicit goal after the Restoration era. By the nineteenth century the segregation increased as the area of Belgravia was developed, and Buckingham House was transformed into Buckingham Palace beginning in 1821. P. J. Atkins, “The Spatial Configuration of Class Solidarity in London’s West End 1792–1939,” Urban History Yearbook 17 (1990): 37–39, 43.
Ford Maddox Ford, The Soul of London, ed. Alan G. Hill (London: Everyman, 1995), 73.
P. J. Atkins, “How the West End Was Won: The Struggle to Remove Street Barriers in Victorian London,” Journal of Historical Geography 19, no. 3 (1993): 267–269.
Mary H. Krout, A Looker-on in London (New York, 1899), 35.
Augustus J. C. Hare, Walks in London, 7th ed. (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1901), 2:39.
Timbs was less impressed with the older clubs of St. James’s. He in fact thought the bow window of White’s was “paltry” by comparison to the new additions in Pall Mall. John Timbs, Club Life of London with Anecdotes of the Clubs, Coffee-Houses and Taverns of the Metropolis during the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries (London, 1866), 1: 279–280.
For example, Karl Baedeker, London and Its Environs: Handbook for Travelers, 11th ed. (Leipzig, 1898)
Edwin Beresford Chancellor, Memorials of St. James’s Street, Together with the Annals of Almack’s (London: G. Richards, 1922)
Charles Eyre Pascoe, A London Directory for American Travelers for 1874. Containing the Fullest Information, in the Best Form for Reference, Respecting All That Is Valuable in Connection with a Visit to London (Boston, 1874).
James Bone, The London Perambulator (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1925), 101.
Alexander F. Baillie, The Oriental Club and Hanover Square (London: Longmans Green, 1901), 141.
Charles Gavard, Un Diplomate a Londres: Lettres et Notes 1871–1877 (Paris, 1895), 73.
John Davis, “Modern London,” in The English Urban Landscape, ed. Philip Waller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 133–134.
L. Perry Curtis, Jr., Jack the Ripper and the London Press (New Haven: Yale University Press), 2001
Judith R. Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 1992.
Stana Nenadic, “English Towns in the Creative Imagination,” in The English Urban-Landscape, ed. Philip Waller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 322.
Andrew Mearns, The Bitter Cry of Outcast London: An Inquiry into the Condition of the Abject Poor (London: 1883), 23, 24. Mearns’ text is often seen as the classic example of East End life then and now; while it certainly applies to the situation, the study actually focuses on an area south of the river by Elephant and Castle.
Carl Chinn, Poverty Amidst Prosperity: The Urban Poor in England, 1834–1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), 19.
Seth Koven, Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 1–22.
Arthur Sherwell, Life in West London: A Study and a Contrast (London: Methuen, 1901), 8.
West End residents were not wholly ignorant of these problems. In particular the plight of the dressmaker who during the Season worked herself almost to death was particularly well publicized. The seamstress was one of the most popular social issues represented in Victorian painting. Despite such long-standing critiques, the dress trade continued at its hectic pace throughout the century, and seasonal work continued. T. J. Edelstein, “They Sang ‘the Song of the Shirt’: The Visual Iconology of the Seamstress,” Victorian Studies 23, no. 2 (1980): 184
Joel Kaplan and Sheila Stowell, Theatre and Fashion: Oscar Wilde to the Suffragettes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 82–85.
Matt Cook, London and the Culture of Homosexuality, 1885–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 106–107.
Percy Colson, Close of an Era, 1887–1914 (London: Hutchinson, 1945), 15.
Philip Hoare, Oscar Wilde’s Last Stand: Scandal, Decadence and Conspiracy during the Great War (New York: Arcade, 1998), 10.
Leslie Weisman, Discrimination by Design: A Feminist Critique of the Man-Made Environment (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 10–11.
Jane Rendell, “Ramblers and Cyprians: Mobility, Visuality and the Gendering of Architectural Space,” in Gender and Architecture, ed. Louise Durning and Richard Wringley (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2000), 138.
Jane Rendell, The Pursuit of Pleasure: Gender, Space & Architecture in Regency London (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 74.
Anthony Lejeune, The Gentlemen’s Clubs of London (London: Macdonald and Jane’s, 1979), 291.
Ian Kelly, Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Dandy (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2005), 245, 247.
Venetia Murray, High Society: A Social History of the Regency Period 1788–1830 (London: Viking, 1998), 91.
Gregory Shaya, “The Flâneur, the Badaud, and the Making of a Mass Public in France, circa 1860–1910,” American Historical Review 109, no. 1 (2004): 14.
Mairi Liston, “‘Le Spectacle De La Rue’: Edmond De Goncourt and the Siege of Paris,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies 32, nos. 1 & 2 (2003–2004): 59–60. The 1880s also saw the real beginnings of women’s attempts to take their place as some of the urban explorers. Deborah Epstein Nord, Walking the Victorian Streets: Women, Representation, and the City (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), 180, 182.
H. T. Waddy, The Devonshire Club—and “Crockford’s” (London: Eveleigh Nash, 1919), 111.
The smell of tobacco smoke was considered distasteful and thus smoking was regulated. Men restricted their cigarette smoking to certain times of day and certain areas. It was considered poor form to smoke in all areas of the house, or to smoke while walking along a public street. All clubs had their smoking rooms, and many houses also had a smoking room for men only. The Prince of Wales set the fashion for smoking and rescued it from its association with vulgarity. By the end of the century, even some women had taken up the habit of smoking cigarettes, though not in public and men were still supposed to ask before smoking in front of a lady. Humphry, Manners for Men, 4, 32. At mid-century smoking was the source of much tension and debate. Matthew Hilton, Smoking in British Popular Culture, 1800–2000 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000),
The historiography of crowds and protests is extensive. Some of the most important studies are as follows: Mark Harrison, Crowds and History: Mass Phenomena in English Towns, 1790–1835 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 1988
Philip Jones, “The Bristol Bridge Riot and Its Antecedents: Eighteenth-Century Perception of the Crowd,” Journal of British Studies 19, no. 2 (1980): 74–92
Nicholas Rogers, “The Gordon Riots Revisited,” Historical Papers/Communications historiques 23, no. 1 (1988): 16–34
E. P. Thomspon, “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd,” Past and Present 50, no. 1 (1971): 76–136.
Hazel Conway, The People’s Parks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 190.
David Kynaston, King Labour: The British Working Class, 1850–1900 (Totawa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1976), 122.
Donald C. Richter, Riotous Victorians (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1981).
The Democratic Federation was formed in 1881 among strong, but vague, calls for revolution. By 1884 under the name of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), it had pledged itself to the peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism. While the group hoped for a bloodless revolution, they were not naive enough to believe that the ruling classes would allow their privileges to be removed without a fight. The group saw the rampant unemployment of the 1880s not only as the result of capitalism, but as a necessary precondition of its survival. Graham Johnson, “‘Making Reform the Instrument of Revolution’: British Social Democracy, 1881–1911,” Historical Journal 43, no. 4 (2000): 978, 998, 992.
Chushichi Tsuzuki, H.M. Hyndman and British Socialism (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), 73.
Wahrman discusses representations of the middle class in a similar way. Dror Wahrman, Imagining the Middle Class: The Political Representation of Class in Britain, c. 1780–1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 6.
Brodie does make the point that the composition of the crowd was more diverse than observers remarked, with at least one-third being tradesmen and the other two-thirds were not necessarily the “residuum” that observers blamed for most violence in the city. Marc Brodie, “Artisans and Dossers: The 1886 West End Riots and the East End Casual Poor,” London Journal 24, no. 2 (1999): 37–45.
Reporters generally had no problem ascribing motives to the crowd and individuals. “The Rioting at the West-End,” 3. Burns’s contemporary biographer reported that Burns alluded to “club loungers” in his speech, citing them as those who would one day realize the importance of the unemployed. Joseph Burgess, John Burns: The Rise and Progress of a Right Honourable (Glasgow: Reformer’s Bookstall, 1911), 53.
One Who Was Present, “To the Editor of the Times,” The Times, February 11, 1886. Proof of the association is also found in the title of the collection of speeches Burns published that year. John Burns, The Man with the Red Flag: Being the Speech Delivered at the Old Bailey by John Burns When Tried for Seditious Conspiracy on April 9, 1886 (London, 1886).
The Showman, “London Realistic Harlequinade,” The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, February 20, 1886, n.p.
Gathorne Hardy, The Diary of Gathorne Hardy, later Lord Cranbrook, 1866–1892: Political Selections, Edited by Nancy E. Johnson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), 244.
F. M. Stuart Wortley, “To the Editor of the Times,” The Times, February 12, 1886, 10. This last letter was actually written from the Carleton Club. One author explicitly critiqued those trying to lay blame on the violence with the socialists. He said that to do so would be to overestimate their power and importance. “The Riots in London,” February 13, 1886, 7.
Henry Mayers Hyndman, The Record of an Adventurous Life (London: Macmillan, 1911), 401.
Burns, The Man with the Red Flag, 11.
Special Correspondent, “Aims of the Socialists,” The Daily Telegraph, February 10, 1886, 3.
H. M. Hyndman, “Starving Men Refuse to Wait!” Justice: The Organ of the Social Democracy, February 13, 1886, 2.
Richter, Riotous Victorians, 115
Tsuzuki, H.M. Hyndman and British Socialism, 73.
As quoted in John Quail, The Slow Burning Fuse: The Lost History of the British Anarchists (London: Granada, 1978), 43–44.
George Standring, The People’s History of the English Aristocracy (London, 1891).
Francis Doyle was referring a recent speech by Gladstone, who had explained the dominance of the “leisured rich” as the reason behind Liberal losses near London. He believed that, while a riot was not what Gladstone intended, his tendency to see classes pitted against each other would lead to more dangerous results. And he believed that tradesmen, ladies, and clubmen who found themselves part of Gladstone’s “callous rich” should look on the man as dangerous. Francis H. Doyle, “To the Editor of the Times,” The Times, February 9, 1886, 6–7.
Alfred Pease, Elections and Recollections (London: John Murray, 1932), 105–106.
William Hurrell Mallock, The Old Order Changes (New York: Garland, 1976), 3: 32.
Marc Brodie, The Politics of the Poor: The East End of London 1885–1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004), 23.
Godfrey Lushington to Col. Julian H. Hall, February 10, 1886, 277, HO/41/31, National Archives, London.
J. M., “To the Editor of the Times,” The Times, February 8, 1886, 6.
Within a few days of rioting, a new socialist government with Hyndman as home secretary established its rule over England. Another mass meeting in Trafalgar and a directed attack on the West End led to absolute chaos. Lord Wolseley eventually took over as dictator, much to the satisfaction of the fictional author. “What It May Come To: Extract from Diary of a London Tradesman,” John Bull, February 13, 1886, 107.
Margaret Elise Harkness, Out of Work (London, 1888), 176. The hero of the story was also present for the Trafalgar Square Riot of 1887 and was roughed up by police.
David Cannadine outlines a number of possibilities: landlords versus tenants, peers versus people, aristocracy versus democracy, idle versus industrious, capital versus labor, and so on. David Cannadine, The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 113.
One such division was the issue of “sweated labor.” Factory Acts might have helped relieve the most obvious social ills but later published parliamentary findings brought the persistent suffering of workers home to everyday Londoners. Ross McKibbin, The Ideologies of Class: Social Relations in Britain, 1880–1950 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 168.
Charles Booth, Maps Descriptive of London Poverty, 1898–1989, June 19, 2006, http://booth.lse.ac.uk/static/a/4.html. London School of Economics. Even Booth’s map might under-rate the number of poor in the West End; he calculated poverty not by simple income, but based on behavior patterns, and thus a “respectable” group of the desperate poor might not appear as such. Pamela K. Gilbert, “The Victorian Social Body and Urban Cartography,” in Imagined Londons, ed. Pamela K. Gilbert (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 25.
Arthur Morrison, A Child of the Jago (Chicago, 1896)
Arthur Morrison, Tales of Mean Streets (New York: Modern Library, 1921), xiv.
Francis Peek, Our Laws and Our Poor (London, 1875), 25.
Stephen Inwood, City of Cities: The Birth of Modern London (London: Pan Books, 2006), 108
Victor Bailey, “In Darkest England and the Way Out: The Salvation Army, Social Reform and the Labour Movement, 1885–1910,” International Review of Social History 29, no. 2 (1984): 133–171.
Improvements included free military band concerts, allowing bicyclist access, and the rumoured addition of a refreshment chalet. Marmaduke, “Court and Club,” The Graphic, November 23, 1895.
The Fabians and SDF had been largely London-based, and their anger was very much focused on the most elite manifestations of power like the clubs. The ILF, by contrast, was based in the north, in Scotland, with headquarters at Bradford. Glyn Williams and John Ramsden, Ruling Britannia: A Political History of Britain, 1688–1988 (London: Longman, 1990), 322.
Another small group were arrested in 1892 for possessing explosives, but they never had a chance to do anything with them. And while it is possible that foreign assassinations were plotted on British soil, in general the British anarchists were non-violent. Haia Shpayer-Makov, “Anarchism in British Public Opinion, 1880–1914,” Victorian Studies 34, no. 4 (1988): 490.
Coral Lansbury, The Old Brown Dog: Women, Workers, and Vivisection in Edwardian England (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 15–22.
Taff Vale, a railway company, sued its striking workers for loss of business and profits. The House of Lords ruled that trade unions could, in fact, be held liable for employers’ losses and were responsible for the results of strikes. Taff Vale was awarded £42,000 in costs and damages. Charles Harvey and Jon Press, “Management and the Taff Vale Strike of 1900,” Business History 42, no. 2 (2000): 63, 77. Lloyd George proposed the People’s Budget in 1909, and its perceived attacks on landed wealth placed the House of Commons and Lords at loggerheads. This eventually created a constitutional crisis, and the Parliament Act of 1911 limited the Lords’ ability to block legislation to a suspensory veto. Andrew Chadwick, “Aristocracy or the People? Radical Constitutionalism and the Progressive Alliance in Edwardian Britain,” Journal of Political Ideologies 4, no. 3 (1999): 365–390.
Cheryl R. Jorgensen-Earp, The Transfiguring Sword: The Just War of the Women’s Social and Political Union (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997), 24. This technique proved useful and drew attention, but it was only one tool in the suffragettes’ arsenal. See, for example “Women Smash London Windows: Suffragettes’ Demonstration Develops Into a Crusade of Destruction,” New York Times, November 22, 1911, 1.
C. J. Bearman, “An Examination of Suffragette Violence,” English Historical Review 120, no. 486 (2005): 372. Equally importantly, the violence was truly national, not simply limited to London.
Antisuffragist sentiment might have been popular, but how central clubland reacted to the antisuffrage movement is still unclear. Brian Harrison’s characterization of clubland is extremely broad, including any clubbable space from clubs to the public schools, Oxbridge, the House of Commons, and certain periodicals. Brian Harrison, Separate Spheres: The Opposition to Women’s Suffrage in Britain (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978). While many antisuffragists belonged to clubs, the argument is not entirely clear that clubs themselves were explicitly antisuffrage. This area clearly needs to be further researched, as the club archives have no references to antisuffrage activism. Even when Frederick Pethick-Lawrence was expelled from the Reform Club, it is not clear it is for his suffragist activities but rather after his bankruptcy. June Balshaw, “Sharing the Burden: The Pethick Lawrences and Women’s Suffrage,” in The Men’s Share? Masculinities, Male Support and Women’s Suffrage in Britain, 1890–1920, ed. Claire Eustance and Angela V. John (New York: Routledge, 1997), 149.