Shoreditch, as Rebuilt in the 1730s
In 1736 there were
anti-Irish riots in Shoreditch. Local workmen
believed that Irish builders and craftsmen
were charging lower prices. This meant the
Irish people were employed and the local people
Buildings like St Leonard 's, Shoreditch
are monuments to the fine craftsmanship of
the Irish people who created these fine buildings.
Gardeners at Carlton
House, Pall Mall, 1751
Many Irish people
worked as gardeners when they came over to
An Irish Wake at
St Giles, eighteenth century
A company of people
gather around a person who has recently died.
The Wake is the traditional form of Irish
funeral. There are strict rituals to follow,
such as keening or crying over the body.
One of the most important parts of the Wake
was watching over the body. Family, neighbours
and friends would stay with the person, celebrating
their life and giving comfort.
The customs of the Wake were not always
understood and appreciated away from Ireland
This image shows the people gathered but
does not show them in a good way.
West India Docks,
From the mid-19th
century the rapid growth of docks and riverside
industries brought new residents. Irish people
became increasingly important in political
movements which set out to change society.
Irish dockers were an important and large
group of employees. The dockers were among
the most downtrodden workers in the country.
Every morning they had to wait at the dock
gates competing for work.
On 14 th August 1889 the great dock strike
began. The men in the West India Dock, led
by Ben Tillett, stopped working in order
to get fair pay. The stevedores, led by an
Irishman called Tom MCCarthy, joined Tillett's
men. Within three days, 10,000 workers had
joined the strike.
The Seven Dials,
This area was created
in 1690. Thomas Neale got freehold of the area
and built houses. Neale designed a street system
based on a six-pointed star. Later a seventh
Over the next hundred years the houses of rich
businessmen and merchants declined into a terrible
By the nineteenth century Seven Dials was
a maze of filthy streets, courts, lanes,
and alleys. Many Irish people lived here
because they were too poor to live anywhere
Paddington Canal, early
Barges can be seen
on this part of the Paddington Canal . Irish
people played a vital role in building the
network of canals, not only in London but across
Views in the Rookery,
St. Giles, nineteenth century.
with broken windows patched with rags and
paper; every room let out to a different
family, and in many instances to two or even
three - fruit and 'sweetstuff' manufacturers
in the cellars, barbers and red-herring vendors
in the front parlours, cobblers in the back;
a bird-fancier in the first floor, three
families on the second, starvation in the
attics, Irishmen in the passage, a 'musician'
in the front kitchen, a charwoman and five
hungry children in the back one - filth everywhere - a
gutter before the houses, and a drain behind - clothes
drying, and slops emptying from the windows;
... men and women, in every variety of scanty
and dirty apparel, lounging, scolding, drinking,
smoking, squabbling, fighting, and swearing .'
Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz ,
1839 on St Giles Rookery
Palm Sunday in
Spitalfields. The Irish community celebrate
Like all communities
in London , Irish people celebrate festivals.
Here the Irish Catholic community have gathered
to parade for Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus entered
Jerusalem at the start of Easter week. It
is a very important date in the Christian
Haymaking in Highbury,
Irish people came
to England to help with the harvest for centuries.
Market in the late nineteenth century.
In this picture
we can see members of many different communities
buying and selling second hand clothes. It
is a crowded and busy scene which gives a good
idea of the hustle and bustle of Petticoat
Many of the people in this picture are presented
as stereotypes. This means presenting someone
in a general way that is meant to be typical
of a particular community.
Irish men were often depicted with a beard
just round their chin and a round hat. Irish
women were usually shown with a shawl.
Stereotyping can lead to prejudiced ideas.
When looking at a picture it is important
to think hard about what is being shown.