The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

 
 
 
James Greenwood

James Greenwood


A carte-de-visite portrait of the pioneering journalist James Greenwood (1832-1929), best remembered for his enormously influential 'A Night in a Workhouse', first published in 1865 under the byline 'The Amateur Casual'.

At the suggestion of his brother Frederick, editor of The Pall Mall Gazette, Greenwood disguised himself as a tramp and spent a night in the Lambeth Workhouse. His graphic description of the horrors he encountered caused a huge sensation, while his veiled references to homosexual activity between the inmates during the night stretched the permissible boundaries of the printed word. The article's impact - in fact three instalments published over successive issues - eventually influenced the reform of the poor laws.

For a full and fascinating assessment of this pioneering piece of journalism, see Chapter 1 of Seth Koven's Slumming (Princeton, 2004).

Photographed by Elliott and Fry of London.


 

Code: 126667
 
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© Paul Frecker 2018