©Wellcome Library, London

A steam train throws its sooty pall over a row of London's ‘back-to-back' houses whose small yards are hung with washing. The building of the railways in the mid-19th century resulted in the demolition of many homes and the forced eviction of a number of the city's poorest inhabitants. This contributed to overcrowding. In Whitechapel, a district of London's East End, the number of inhabited houses fell by over 30% between 1871-1901 while the population rose by nearly 3%, resulting in a growth in person-to-house density from 9.14 to 13.77.

Illustration by Gustave Doré (1832-1883).

Source: Gustave Doré, Blanchard Jerrold (1826-1884). London: a pilgrimage. Grant, London 1872.