Work, it might be argued, is one of the great overlooked subjects of British fiction, always in the background, always necessary, sometimes fervently desired, at other times roundly disdained, frequently a source of tension and unhappiness, but rarely conceptualized, deconstructed or otherwise considered as one of the key influences on our inner lives. Naturally, there are good reasons for this: one of them is sheer heredity. Victorian novelists were habitually uninterested in what their characters were doing for a living. When money turns up in a Dickens novel it tends to fall out of the air into the hero’s lap: the processes by which it is earned are entirely beyond his scope, together with any real knowledge of what happens on a shop-floor or in barristers’ chambers. — D. J. Taylor, “Worker bees,” Times Literary Supplement (18 & 25 December 2015): 3

General

[*** = no material linked to this heading]

Professions

Skilled Labor — Craftsman

Semi-Skilled Labor

Agricultural Labor

Unskilled Labor

Gender and Work

Servants

Child Labor

Criminal classes

  • burglars ***
  • mudlarks ***
  • smash and grab ***

Dore's Pedlar



Dore's Woman Pedlar



Dore's Pedlar

Three London pedlars by Gustave Doré


Last modified 4 February 2016