The Rookery lies between Great Russell Street, St Giles High Street, and Charlotte Street. (Charlotte Street will later be called Bloomsbury Street.)
Crammed into this small area is a shifting population of about 6,000 Irish adults and from 3,000 to 4,000 children. Sometimes a single cellar provides accommodation for as many as forty people.
The district is a warren: a dense mass of houses with many enclosed courtyards, carved up by a maze of narrow lanes and passageways. There are many gin shops, just as there were in Hogarth's time.
The people here share their living accommodation with their pigs, dogs and donkeys. There are piles of filth in the streets.
The journalist and novelist Charles Dickens will describe the squalor of the St Giles Rookery several times in his writings, beginning with Sketches by Boz (1836).
The worst parts of the Rookery will be swept away in 1847, when New Oxford Street is driven through the area.