Every year migrant Irish workers sailed to the West Country ports or to London to earn rent money for their small-holdings in Ireland by mowing the corn and hay fields. They mowed their way back to the West Coast and so returned to Ireland. Sometimes, in bad years when the Irish potato crop had failed, there was no point in returning and many stayed. In this way there grew up colonies of Irish who lived in temporary cabins on the Bishop of London's estate, in Lisson Grove, and elsewhere. They were allowed to stay on six month tenancies and could plant potatoes about the huts. At the end of that time the huts had to be moved to another site so that they did not create permanent tenancies.
These settlements, on heavy soil without adequate drainage or clean water, were to create problems later, as we shall see when discussing Dr Southwood Smith and Octavia Hill.'