Charles Booth: “distilling an avalanche of information”

Belated kudos to this fascinating infoviz item from mid-May.

Mr. Booth had set out to discover how many people were living in poverty, to determine why and what could be done to help them. As well as proving that there was much more poverty in London than the official statistics suggested, his research revealed the nuances of an increasingly complex city with different degrees of hardship, where the rich often lived alongside the poor. Still seen as landmarks of sociological research, his maps are to be exhibited in the new Galleries of Modern London opening Friday at the Museum of London.

“Booth’s Maps are important documents of mass poverty, but by drilling down and giving huge amounts of detail, they do more than analyze it statistically,” said Beverly Cook, curator of social and working history at the Museum of London. “Many writers and artists of the time saw London as a divided city, split between rich and poor, but these maps show its complexities. In many respects, they give a more realistic portrayal of working class life in London than Charles Dickens’s novels.”

An Early Triumph in Information Design – NYTimes.com

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