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the later Victorian and Edwardian times 1890 to 1919

Social classes

In 1901 Walthamstow, Forest Gate, Clapham, Peckham and Kilburn were named as places in which many clerks lived 4, but they were at least as typical of Leyton.  In 1894 clerks were the greatest users of Leyton Library, 613 in the survey, against 204 school teachers, 51 engineers, and following them 49 cabinet makers and carpenters, 47 police officers, 46 Customs and Board of Trade officials, 40 school children and students, 38 milliners and dressmakers and 32 shop assistants 5.

In the ‘metropolitan’ London of 1891 a quarter of white collar households had a servant 6.  For a household in Leyton to have a servant would have marked it as particularly wealthy.

4  G S Layard ‘A Lower-Middle-Class Budget’ Cornhill Magazine New Series vol 10 1901 quoted by Geoffrey Crossick in ‘The Lower Middle Class in Britain 1870-1914’

5  “The Express and Independent / Saturday, July 7, 1894. / Its First Year” newspaper cutting page numbered 357 in “Wire Collection News Cuttings 1894”, VHM shelf item at L04 Q

6  taken from Charles Booth’s ‘Life and Labour of the People in London’ by Hugh McLeod in ‘White Collar Values And The Role Of Religion’, an essay within ‘The Lower Middle Class in Britain 1870-1914’ edited by Geoffrey Crossick

The renting policy of Warner Estates was instrumental in restricting their Leyton estate by the Lea Bridge Road to those in secure employment : “no-one got a Warner’s flat without a good reference; you had to have a regular job, so you found there were people like policemen, people who worked on the buses, who had a regular job, and could pay the rent regularly” 7.  >>

7  WFOHW interview reference number 377

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