Sufferers from the Floods

Street Life in London

Sufferers from the Floods


John Thomson

(Scottish, 1837-1921)


Image: 11.5 x 9 cm (4 1/2 x 3 9/16 in.); Paper: 11.5 x 9 cm (4 1/2 x 3 9/16 in.); Mounted: 27 x 20.7 cm (10 5/8 x 8 1/8 in.)

Photography Discretionary Fund 2019.52


Did you know?

Annual tidal overflow of the Thames River flooded less prosperous areas of London, leaving behind “a trail of misery . . . and a damp, noxious, fever-breeding atmosphere.”


Smith and Thomson decided to photograph the once-prosperous Rowletts in front of the rag shop that they owned and lived in to show that the floods caused long-term financial losses and health problems that drove even the middle class into poverty. The woman with the baby lived in the house next door; her entire family suffered constant colds and rheumatism from the persistent dampness.

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