Henry Mayhew (25 November 1812 – 25 July 1887) was an English social researcher, journalist, playwright and advocate of reform. He was one of the co-founders of the satirical and humorous magazine Punch in 1841, and was the magazine's joint-editor, with Mark Lemon, in its early days. He is also known for his work as a social researcher, publishing an extensive series of newspaper articles in the Morning Chronicle that was later compiled into the book series London Labour and the London Poor (1851), a groundbreaking and influential survey of the city's poor.
He was born in London, one of seventeen children of Joshua Mayhew. He was educated at Westminster School before running away from his studies to sea. He then served with the East India Company as a midshipman on a ship bound for Calcutta. He returned after several years, in 1829, becoming a trainee lawyer in Wales. He left this and became a freelance journalist. He contributed to The Thief, a readers' digest, followed quickly by editing a weekly journal – Figaro in London. Along with continuing to develop his writing, Mayhew briefly managed the Queen's Theatre. Mayhew reputedly fled his creditors and holed up at The Erwood Inn, a small public house in the village of Erwood, south of Builth Wells in Wales...
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