19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, No 13 (2011)

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The City of Others: Photographs from the City of London Asylum Archive

Caroline Bressey


This photographic essay presents images from the City of London Asylum archive as a example of how the visual can be used to expand our investigations of social histories of Victorian London, particularly the multi-cultural nature of the city. The essay argues that images are an essential part of the research process, but also discusses some of the disadvantages and ethical tensions encountered through the use of such portraits for historical recovery. Despite these caveats, the paper concludes that we have much to learn from the images that present images of the city that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, for twenty-first-century researchers to access.

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