Henry Mayhew interviews a boy of 16, a vagrant and inmate of a casual ward of a London workhouse:
"My father had no books but religious books; they were all of a religious turn, and what people might think dull. But they never made me dull. I read Wesley's and Watt's hymns, and religious magazines of different connexions. I had a natural inclination for the sae, and would like to get to it now. I've read a good deal about it since -Clark's 'Lives of Pirates', 'Tales of Shipwrecks', and other things in penny numbers (Clark's I got out of the library though). I was what people called a deep boy for a book; and am still. Whenever I had a penny, after I got a bellyful of victuals, it went for a book, but I haven't bought many lately. I did buy one yesterday -the 'Family Herald' -one I often read when I can get it. There's good reading in it; it elevates your mind -anybody that has a mind for studying. It has good tales in it... I've read "Windsor Castle" and "The Tower", -they're by the same man. I Liked "Windsor Castle" and all about Henry VIII and Herne and Hunter. It's a book that's connected with history, and that's a good thing. I like adventurous tales."