Thursday, May 29, 2014

Charles Booth's Poverty Map of London

The London School of Economics has released a new online interactive map of Charles Booth's Poverty Map of London.

Charles Booth was an English philanthropist who is most famous for his research into working class life in London at the end of the 19th Century. In the 1800's a large proportion of London's population lived in poverty. Charles Booth didn't believe the claims made by social reformers that a quarter of Londoners lived in abject poverty.

Booth's response was to carry out a huge study into the lives and working conditions of Londoners. He published the results of his research in 'Life and Labour of the People in London'. The publication included detailed 'Maps Descriptive of London Poverty' in which the levels of poverty and wealth in London were mapped out street by street.

Through his thorough investigation into living and working conditions in London Booth discovered that a third of Londoners actually lived in poverty.

The LSE's imaginatively entitled PhoneBooth application is an interactive version of Booth's poverty map of London. The map is overlaid on top of the modern OpenStreetMap of London. It includes a slide control so that you can adjust the opacity of Booth's map and view the modern street map of London beneath Booth's 19th Century poverty map.

PhoneBooth also includes a map of the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010. This enables you to compare Booth's 19th Century poverty map with the current social conditions of Londoners on a street by street basis.

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