Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Barton house. Home of John Barton in central Manchester, amid an area of half-finished houses erected to accommodate factory workers. The house looks onto a small paved court–in which the washing is hung–a typical arrangement in Victorian towns. Its central gutter indicates that no drainage has been laid. The house is small, with one main room in which the family lives and cooks and a small sculler-cum-pantry leading off it, and also a coal-hole. Upstairs are two small bedrooms. The downstairs room is crowded with furniture that would normally be regarded as a sign of prosperity; however, it is clear that much of the furniture is for show rather than use. The house is clean and bright, an indication that the family, though poor, is respectable.
Alice Wilson’s cellar. Home of the washerwoman, sick nurse, and herbalist Alice Wilson; a basement room at 14 Barber Street in Manchester. Her single room serves as both bedroom and workroom. Like the Bartons’ house, it is clean and whitewashed, but it is also damp. Alice has fewer possessions than the Bartons, so there is a stark contrast between her bare room and their crowded house.
Legh’s house. Home of Job Legh and his granddaughter Mary Barton, in a Barber Street apartment above Alice Wilson’s cellar. Legh is an amateur entomologist, and his room is like a “wizard’s dwelling,” crowded with display cases, books, and scientific instruments.
*Manchester. Industrial city in central England. Central Manchester, the oldest part of the town, is the site of Carson’s mill, which is located on a street consisting of public houses, pawnbrokers’ shops, rag and bone warehouses, poor grocery shops, and crowded alleys and back streets. It is a rundown area susceptible to fire.
Davenport’s cellar. Home of Ben Davenport, a man thrown out of work by the fire at Carson’s mill, on Berry Street. His court is not paved, and the central gutter on his building does not drain as well as that in the Bartons’ court. His cellar is dark, dirty, and not whitewashed, and its windows are broken. The cellar is damp and cold. Davenport, his wife, and several children live in the cellar, and Davenport is dying of typhoid brought on by the place’s unhealthy conditions. His cellar is a stark contrast to Alice Wilson’s cellar.
Carson’s house. Home of Mr. Carson, the owner of the mill. Located far from the mill, almost in the country, the large house is well decorated and staffed by servants. When Jem Wilson is sent to Carson’s house to get an infirmary order for Davenport, he waits in a kitchen, wherein the life of the house is laid open to him. Even the servants live luxurious lives in comparison to his own, and they are at first unaware that he is starving. Wilson is received by the Carsons at the breakfast table in the well-appointed library, which acts as a counterpoint to his own much less comfortable house.
*Liverpool. Major English port city on the west coast to which Mary goes to find an alibi for Jem Wilson when he is accused of murder. Liverpool is a seafaring city, with the docks in the center of the city. Manchester is compared unfavorably with Liverpool as a “nasty, smoky hole.”
Sturgis’s house. Home of Ben Sturgis in which Mary Barton takes refuge after she is taken out by boat to catch Will Wilson’s ship before it sails; there she recuperates after an illness. The old-fashioned house was built long before the rest of the houses on its street and looks as though it belongs to a country town. The house represents a return to an older, better time, and emphasis is laid once again on light and on cleanliness, with hints of the exotic in the objects brought back from a foreign country by the sailor.