While many thrived in the prosperous imperial city, others suffered great hardship and poverty. All Londoners shared the impact of massive population growth and the experience of two world wars.

During the Blitz, 177,000 Londoners sheltered in the London Underground. Some tube stations provided bunk beds, stoves, toilets and ‘Food trains’.

A newspaper report in 1867 estimated there were ‘100,000 persons who live by plunder’ in London. There were many ‘no go’ areas where the new metropolitan Police force never went, from Westminster to the East End.

In the 1930s poor Londoners went on hop-picking holidays. 50,000 people from the East End worked for weeks to farms in Kent and Surrey to get out of the slums.