Icon Feb 13, 2010

Landlordism: a vampiric octopus (Northrop, circa 1910)

This postcard copyright by W B Northrop shows the octopus of “Landlordism” – renting out a property (or absent landlord) –  with its arms enclosing parts of London. In the enclosures are the names of the landlords and their earnings from rent. An interesting aspect to this, is according to the text – shown below – this is a vampiric octopus: “The Land Octopus Sucks the Lifeblood of the People.”1

LANDLORDISM CAUSES UNEMPLOYMENT It paralyses the BUILDING TRADE: It Pauperises the Peasantry: 12 Landlords “own” (?) London, taking, 20,000,000 a year; 500 Peers “own” (?) an entire one-third of England; 4,000 Landlords “own” (?) an entire half of Enlgand; The Land Octopus Sucks the Lifeblood of the People.2


  1. Northrop, W.B – text from the postcard, presumably written by Northrop. Emphasis in the original.
  2. ibid.
  3. Further reading: two articles that discuss two different situations of landlordism, the enclosure of the commons, and the consequences:
    • Curtis, L. Perry (2003), Landlord responses to the Irish Land War 1879-87, Eire-Ireland:Journal of Irish Studies, 38:3-4, http://tinyurl.com/chpujt (Accessed: 1st Feb 2009)
    • Tilsen, J. (2003), Ottoman Land Registration Law as a Contributing Factor in the Israeli-Arab Conflict, http://www.beki.org/landlaw.html (Accessed: 1st Feb 2009)