In the early 1850s, "Punch" journalist Henry Mayhew began visiting London's poverty-stricken East End and documenting the lives and careers of folks eking out their livings on starvation's edge.
These in-their-own-words descriptions of daily toil are all the more fascinating for the ingenius services provided. Want an exotic bird? A clever con-artist will hand paint a drab domestic peeper, which will sing in your window until overwhelmed by its toxic coat. Or perhaps you require chemicals with which to tan leather? Just hire an old lady to come by every few hours with a can full of dog crap, the #1 substance for the job. (This was one of the better paying occupations of the lower classes.)
The University of Virginia has digitized Mayhew's rare and fascinating work, illuminating the secret histories and practices of costermongers, ginger beer men, love song sellers, lucifer match dealers and all their colorful, forgotten peers.
Update: Phil sez, "Further to your post about the University of Virginia digitising Henry Mayhew's excellent 1850s accounts of London's poor... They only appear to have the first volume. Tufts have had the full four volumes available online for at least a couple of years. They also include scans of images from the books -- example.
"In case the full volumes are a bit daunting, I blogged a couple of my favourite extracts a while back, one about a man fighting rats for money (with his mouth!) and one about the hilarious tricks early photographic shops used to get up to with customers who weren't accustomed to seeing photos."
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
The Black Friday Mac Bundle 2.0 is one of the Boing Boing Store’s best-selling Mac bundles yet, and it’s about to come to an end. If you don’t get your copy now, here’s what you’ll be missing:This bundle comes packing 9 top-rated Mac apps in one package, at the hugely discounted price of just $23.99. […]
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]