Published: April 2017.
In 1835 the 23 year-old budding writer Charles Dickens, then using the pseudonym ‘Boz’, penned a sketch about Greenwich Fair, a huge event which attracted crowds of up to 100,000 people, mainly working classes looking to let off steam. In this article, we look behind this biannual spectacle which Dickens’s so acutely observes, and how left to a combination of being left unchecked and some Victorian sniffery, it ultimately became a victim that was to befall many Fairs around the metropolis.
Published: May 2017.
In October 1843 a young widow and seamstress, simply known as Mrs Biddell, was prosecuted at a Court in the East End of London for pawning clothes she was sewing in order to feed her starving children. Although not an unusual tale for many hard-up seamstresses, the case of Mrs Biddell would go on to make national publicity and expose the distress of this poor group of workers. In this article, we look at the story behind Mrs Biddell and the plight of this largely hidden industry in the early part of the Victorian Era.