28 Dean Street as it looks today:
Karl Marx and his family came to England in 1849, settling into 28 Dean Street, Soho, in London. They were in abject poverty and lived in squalid conditions in a two-roomed apartment. They lost three children while they lived in this and another apartment in the same street. A Prussian spy described how Marx lived in 1852:
"Washing and grooming and changing his linen are things he does rarely, and he is often drunk. Though he can often be idle for days on end, he will work day and night, with tireless endurance when he has a great deal of work to do. He has no fixed times for going to sleep and waking up. He often stays up all night, and then lies down fully clothed on the sofa at midday and sleeps till evening, untroubled by the whole world coming and going though the room".
28 Dean Street, above Quo Vadis restaurant is now a desirable property, with a discreet blue plaque, but in the 1850s, this was an overcrowded filthy building, and the Marx's suffered terribly there.
How times change: when I photographed 28 Dean Street a few years ago, there were champagne bottles visible on the window sill of Marx's old apartment:
Philosophy Sites is free, but please consider supporting this podcast series by subscribing via Paypal: