The Separation of Classes Through Rookeries and Palaces

St. Giles

The 1800s ushered in the Regency period from 1811-1820 of architecture with figurehead John Nash prompting Regency Classism through the dominant use of stucco. During this period industrial labor migration flourished and poverty grew as an outcome to the changes in the labor market. The discrepancy between the housing of the royals versus those of the slums was prominent during this time. A slum was referred to as a rookery during the 18th and 19th centuries with a famous rookery located within the St. Giles area of London. Those who enjoyed this era of British culture were the wealthy few.  The most defining aspect of John Nash’s legacy, ignoring his messy relationship with his first wife, was the transformation of Buckingham Palace, as well as the Roya Pavilion and Marble Arch. The Marble Arch was originally designed as the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but today it stands as the entrance to Hyde Park and The Great Expedition. Originally known as Buckingham House, it was privately owned by the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. Today, Buckingham Palace hosts the administrative headquarters of the monarchy since 1837 with Queen Victoria. With the addition of a Cour d’honneur, or an open formal forecourt and bath stone beginning in 1825 and completed in 1853. Henry Mayhew visits the rookery of St. Giles in 1860 and writes:

The parish of St. Giles, with its nests of close and narrow alleys and courts inhabited by the lowest class of Irish costermongers, has passed into a byword as the synonym of filth and squalor. And although New Oxford Street has been carried straight through the middle of the worst part of its slums—"the Rookery"—yet, especially on the south side, there still are streets which demand to be swept away in the interest of health and cleanliness... They [are] a noisy and riotous lot, fond of street brawls, equally "fat, ragged and saucy;" and the courts abound in pedlars, fish-women, newscriers, and corn-cutters.

Government during the 1830s-1870s demolished part of St. Giles for improved transportation routes and sanitation with the specific street being New Oxford Street. The outcome was that the slum was pushed farther back, and It failed to achieve its goal until late 1900s.

“Buckingham Palace.”, A&E Television Networks,


Photograph of The Rookery of St Giles, London, 1850 by Print Collector.,


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