Henry Mayhew (1812-1887)

Henry Mayhew, novelist, journalist, playwright, and social explorer, was born in London in 1812. In 1841 he helped to establish Punch Magazine, and was joint editor for 2 years. However, in 1845 he severed his connection with Punch, and in 1849 began to write a series of articles (82 in total) on the London poor for the Morning Chronicle. Some of these were collected and published in 1851, attracting little notice. A much-expanded edition was published in 1861 and 1862 as London Labour and the London Poor. Other works include: (with John Binny) The Criminal Prisons of London (1862); and London Characters (1874). Other of Mayhew’s writings have been published in E P Thompson and Eileen Yeo (eds.), The Unknown Mayhew (1971), and in The Morning Chronicle Survey of Labour and the Poor (6 vols., 1980-1982).