This vast assemblage was volatile, subject to the ups and downs of the world economy, to the vagaries of the weather, and to the rise and fall of various trades. Its crises could cause panic in wealthy London. New forms of charity came into being as well as, eventually, an embryonic form of the twentieth-century welfare state.
At first sight, the London described in this book is wholly remote from the city encountered today. But developments in recent decades reveal that the types of irregular employment, poverty and inequality experienced by modern Londoners are not so distant from those familiar to their Victorian and Edwardian ancestors.
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