An East End Factory

An East End Factory by Joseph Pennell (1857-1926). 1899. Illustration for Walter Besant's East London (London: Chatto & Windus, 1901), p. 31.

Among the main types of trade in the East End, Besant explains, are "dress, furniture, building, and machinery" (24). Nor were these all small concerns — sweat-shops, backyard workshops and so on. Jerry White writes, "the absence of large factories in London has been exaggerated." He explains that later in the period especially, "giant factories were a feature of London's working life" (173). Pennell shows a typical arrangement here, with his "East End Factory" close to the canal and its barges, tall masts from the ocean-going ships in the background, and a railway signal to the right. The interconnectedness of industry and transport could not be made plainer.

Scanned image and text by Jacqueline Banerjee [This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Besant, Walter. East London. London: Chatto & Windus, 1901.

White, Jerry. London in the Nineteenth Century: "A Human Awful Wonder of God". London: Cape, 2007.