That brief outline takes us to the beginning of the twentieth century, and now we’ll turn to housing.
At the beginning of the century, living conditions for the majority of working people in East London were very basic indeed. Houses were crowded closely together and usually very badly built, because there was no regulation. But the poor and needy were attracted by the possibility of work, and they had to be housed. It was the availability, rather than the condition, of the housing that was the major concern for tenants and landlords alike.
Few houses had electricity at this time, so other sources of power were used, like coal for the fires which heated perhaps just one room. Of course, the smoke from these contributed a great deal to the air pollution for which London used to be famous.
A tiny, damp, unhealthy house like this might well be occupied by two full families, possibly including several children, grandparents, aunts and uncles.