Tuesday, 27 February 2007


scavengers DUST-HEAPS

The Victorian dust-heap has long been of interest to scholars through it's literary place in Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend. We are now very keen in recycling as a society, of course, and the Victorian system of rubbish-sifting seems very "green" to modern readers, albeit tainted by the poverty-stricken lives of the scavengers involved. These days, of course, we outsource some of our scavenge-able waste to third-world countries, where they can do our scavenging/recycling for us, in conditions not dissimilar to those described herein, in an 1850s piece from Household Words, to which I've added other links on the subject.

1 comment:

  1. In the 19th century, dog waste was known as 'pure,' and collected for the tanning industry, I believe. I've always wondered why it was called 'pure.' Pure what? The imagination boggles. :-)