I lived in a Slum (hereafter ILS), written by the journalist ‘Mrs Cecil’ (Ada) Chesterton and published in 1936, describes her investigations into housing conditions of the time, citing the comments of working-class individuals and families in the ‘slums’ and social housing of West End London in the 1930s.[i] It discusses the policies, actions and perceived attitudes of the L.C.C., and Borough Councils (including Southwark, Westminster) to the poorer inhabitants of this region.
A forthcoming article (working title: ”Slum’ Clearance, ‘Social Cleansing’ and Social Housing in 1930s West End London‘), explores ILS to discuss these issues. In the mean time, the online map that I created as an aid to studying this work (and provide geographical context) is now publicly accessible. It plots the people and places mentioned in the book; provides extracts from the text: and in some cases has links to further information:
People and places of the West End: from ‘slum’ to social housing in the 1930s
An alternative (beta) version of the map is also available; the content is the same as the above, but is accessible in different ways.
Further information on the people, places, and discussed and issues raised in the book will also be provided in (a) future post(s). But related information can be found in a previous blog post (which concentrated on descriptions in ILS of the conditions in and environment of Notting Dale in the mid 1930s). Another previous post expands upon an article (on Chesterton’s investigation into poverty and housing in London during 1925, with reference to workhouse and common lodging house accommodation), which was published on the Voluntary Action History Society site.
If readers recognise any of the more ambiguous locations plotted on the map and mentioned in the book, please let me know and I shall modify the texts / locations accordingly.
Likewise, if any readers remember any of the people or places mentioned, it’d be good to hear related stories and information.