Other Voices

Much of the controversy about the woman question was remote from the lives of working-class and poor women. But there were a number of Victorian writers who documented the lives of such women. In his monumental work London Labour and the London Poor, Henry Mayhew presents scores of portraits and life stories in his subjects' own words. A costermonger's account of her life and beliefs gives a vivid sense of her world, and an interview with a seamstress who became a fallen woman shows how differently moral issues appear when poverty drives them. It is also interesting to compare Mayhew's accounts with Annie Besant's account of match workers.


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