Ireland

Lesa Scholl, “Irish Migration to London During the c.1845-52 Famine: Henry Mayhew’s Representation in London Labour and the London Poor“

Lesa Scholl, “Irish Migration to London During the c.1845-52 Famine: Henry Mayhew’s Representation in London Labour and the London Poor

The Great Irish Famine (c. 1845-52) was marked by mass emigration that had a significant impact on the British mainland. This paper examines Henry Mayhew’s representation of Irish migration to London during the height of the famine in his ethnographic study, London Labour and the London Poor. Mayhew’s ambivalence to Irish migration speaks to the widespread fears within Britain of the spread of disease, overpopulation, and increased pressures on wages and employment, but also expresses empathy for the Irish at a time when British sympathies were waning. The domestic spaces of the Irish migrants depict the tensions between mobility and settlement in a way that reinforces their permanence in the British social landscape