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LONDON does not end at the limits
assigned to it by those acts of parliament which
take thought for the health of Londoners.
More suburbs shoot up, while official ink is
drying. Really, there is no limit to London;
but the law must needs assign bounds; and,
by the law, there is one suburb on the
border of the Essex marshes which is quite
cut off from the comforts of the
Metropolitan Buildings Act;—in fact, it lies just
without its boundaries, and therefore is
chosen as a place of refuge for offensive
trade establishments turned out of town,—
those of oil-boilers, gut-spinners, varnish-
makers, printers' ink-makers and the like.
Being cut off from the support of the
Metropolis Local Managing Act, this outskirt is
free to possess new streets of houses without
drains, roads, gas, or pavement. It forms
part of the parish of West Ham, and
consists of two new towns; Hallsville, called
into existence some ten years since by the
Messrs. Mare and Company's ship-building
yard, and half depopulated by the recent
bankruptcy of that firm; and Canning Town,
very recently created by the works in
progress at the new Victoria Docks.
Hallsville and Canning Town are immediately
adjacent to the Barking Road station of the
Eastern Counties line. That station is
connected by a junction with the North London
Railway, and is to be reached by a sixpenny
ride from Fenchurch Street, Carnden Town,
or any of the intermediate stations. Any
Londoner may, in dry summer weather, at
the cost of very little time and money, go
out, as we have done, to see this patch of
the land over the border.

If he should go out in wet weather, or in
winter, for that purpose, he will doubt whether
it be land that he has come to see. It is a
district, at such times, most safely to be
explored on stilts. The clergyman of the parish
says, that he once lost his shoes in the mud
while visiting in Hallsville, and did not
know that they were gone till some time
afterwards; so thickly were his feet encased
in knobs of mud. The parish doctor tells us
that he means, next winter, to wear fishing-
boots that shall reach to his thighs. The
inspector of schools, when he goes to
Hallsville in the winter, puts on shooting-boots as
a particular precaution. He may need a
coracle sometimes. The whole of the ground
on which Hallsville and Canning Town are
built is seven feet below high-water mark.
Bow Creek borders both colonies, and its
water, at high tide, is dammed out from them
by very ancient banks of earth. The
embankment is attributed to Danes, Saxons or
Romans. When we first visited the place,
the water in the creek was actually, to the
stature of a man, higher than the ground on
which we walked.

Our second visit was paid at the time of
low-water, on one of Nature's baking-days.
From the slight elevation of the railway-
station or the bridge over the creek, the
district, on such a day, seems more inviting
than repulsive. The wide plain of valuable
pasturagefor the marshes that give ague
to men, give grass to beastsis dry to
the foot and green to the eye. There are
pleasant belts of trees, with here a spire,
there a church-tower, upon the horizon;
and, in the foreground, groups of cattle feed
as Cuyp used to paint them feeding. There
are a good many tall smoking chimneys that
mark out the line of the creek, and there is a
forest of masts to tell of the adjacent
Thames and of the docks; but, to the eye, the
broad, green Essex plain is master of the

Such a plain suggests a feeling of repose.
Hallsville and Canning Town seem to be
enviable townlets, their small houses
appearing, in the hot season, to be the happy
homes of men who pasture flocks and herds
safe from the wear and worry of the world.

But let us go down into either townlet. It
does not, in the smallest degree, matter which.
The houses are built in rows; but, there
being no roads, the ways are so unformed
that the parish will not take charge of them.
We get, then, upon a narrow path of gravel
raised about two feet above the grasssuch
paths enable men to walk not more than
mid leg deep about the place in rainy weather
and we come to a row of houses built with
their backs to a stagnant ditch. We turn
aside to see the ditch, and find that it
is a cesspool, so charged with corruption,
that not a trace of vegetable matter grows
upon its surfacebubbling and seething