Photo - Igor Clark
Of all the slum novels of the late nineteenth century, A Child of the Jago is one of the most compelling. And the historian Sarah Wise has tracked down the life and death of a young East Ender in the 1890s which gave the novelist Arthur Morrison the outlines of his plot. Do take a read. She also spells out how Morrison misrepresented the area he wrote about - the part of Shoreditch on which the Boundary Street Estate now stands.
There is one corner of Morrison's Jago that still stands - the little alley he called 'The Posties' through which the central character of his novel runs with goods pilfered from stalls on the high stree. Its real name is Boundary Passage. I'm posting a wonderful photo taken by Igor Clark of this alley - it captures something of the air of menace which Morrison writes about. Thanks to Igor for allowing me to use his photo - you can see his Flickr stream here.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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