'Overpopulation' and the 'Balloon Craze', 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Etching satirising the effects of potential overpopulation by George Cruikshank (1792-1878). It shows people having to go to extraordinary lengths to escape their overcrowded living conditions. Homes have been made in every posible square inch, including dwellings suspended from bridges and balloons. The Industrial Revolution brought rapid urban growth in Britain, resulting in cramped, squalid housing conditions for the working clases and the poor. After illustrating some children's books and songs, George Cruikshank made his name as a political caricaturist and went on to become one of the most well-known caricaturists of his age.