Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

This resource was created by the London School of Economics

This resource includes the following primary source photographs and maps that can be used to support historical enquiry. They can be used to ask and answer questions about poverty, philanthropy and leisure in the Victorian period. Available individually within the resource, and also as a downloadable powerpoint with captions.

  • Labourers in Covent Garden
  • Map of Covent Garden
  • Flower Girls in Covent Garden
  • Cheap fish of St Giles
  • A Crawler of St Giles
  • Old Clothes of St Giles
  • Map of London Central West District
  • Colour Code
  • Strawberry sellers
  • Old Furniture
  • A Convict’s House


Curriculum Links

  • KS3 History: Industy, Empire and Social Change 1745 - 1901 (Social pyramid, leisure time, streets, philanthropy (Charles Booth))
  • KS3 Geography: Human Environment: Urban Change


Discussion Ideas

What do you think Lisa Picard means by ‘lived life on the streets?’



Activity Ideas

  • Use the map to identify the following features mentioned in the text:
    • The Flower Girls’ beat outside St Paul’s, opposite the market.
    • Where ‘the crawler’ was sitting on the map.
    • The workhouse steps on Shorts’ Gardens.
    • The brewery.
    • Can you suggest what streets may have had slums on them and would be cleared?



  • Research how poverty is defined today.
    • What percentage of families live in poverty in Britain today?
    • How do you think the definition has changed?
  • Watch a section of the film of My Fair Lady – a musical based on a play called Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw – either ‘Who will buy?’ and ‘The rain in Spain’ or ‘I’m getting married in the morning’. Think about how Covent Garden is portrayed.
    • Are there class distinctions?
    • Does it reflect what you have learnt about the area?


  • Connect the information here with previous topics covered, such as the Workhouse or the impact of industrialisation on towns and cities. Ask the class to think about how street life was changed by these things in London and elsewhere.


Urban Regeneration Project:

  • Research and look at some of the information in Supporting Links around the Covent Garden area today.
    • How has the area changed?
    • Why did it change?
    • How this link to other urban change programmes?
    • Can you find out if there are still social issues in the area, e.g. homelessness, drunkenness and crime?
  • Use the Charles Booth Mapping website in Supporting Links to research another area of London from the 1890s, e.g. West London, Whitechapel or Lambeth, on the maps and through the notebooks.
    • What similarities and differences do you see?
  • Do a mapping project of your local area - take a high street for example.
    • Are there landmarks, shops, cafes, pubs, houses, flats, industries?
    • Find out how they have changed over the last 100 years.