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Updated by Vicki Bunce on Jul 22, 2014
Vicki Bunce Vicki Bunce
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Industrial Revolution Yr 9 (ACDSEH017, ACDSEH080, ACDSEH081, ACDSEH082)

All people make sense of the world around them by referring to the past. A systematic study of history develops this understanding in ways that add to our understanding of ourselves. in studying societies distant from us in time, place and culture, we are developing a wider understanding of why people behave as they do, now and in the past.

Dickens's London: in pictures - Telegraph

A collection of Victorian photographs conjures up the winding streets and smoking factories of the city that inspired Charles Dickens.

Domestic System

▼ Primary Sources ▼ In the 18th Century the production of textiles was the most important industry in Britain. Most of the work was carried out in the home and was often combined with farming. There were three main stages to making cloth: carding, spinning and weaving.

Industrial Revolution

Why did the Industrial Revolution happen in 18th century Britain? It happened because of the special combination of geological good fortune, the ascendancy of political liberalism, enlightened thinking and imperial power meant change was more likely to begin in Britain than elsewhere. The Industrial Revolution happened because the economic condition were right to ensure it sustained success.

Factory Accidents

Unguarded machinery was a major problem for children working in factories. One hospital reported that every year it treated nearly a thousand people for wounds and mutilations caused by machines in factories.

Apprentice House

▼ Primary Sources ▼ Many parents were unwilling to allow their children to work in these new textile factories. To overcome this labour shortage factory owners had to find other ways of obtaining workers. One solution to the problem was to obtain children from orphanages and workhouses.

Factory Labour and Physical Deformaties

▼ Primary Sources ▼ William Whatton was a doctor in Manchester whose work involved examining the workers at Peter Appleton's factory. He told a parliamentary committee in 1818 that child labour in factories "is so moderate it can scarecely be called labour at all; and under those circumstances I should not think there would be any injury from it."

Working Hours

On 16th March 1832 Michael Sadler introduced a Bill in the House of Commons that proposed limiting the hours of all persons under the age of 18 to ten hours a day. After much debate it was clear that Parliament was unwilling to pass Sadler's bill.

Punishment in Factories

▼ Primary Sources ▼ Children who worked long hours in the textile mills became very tired and found it difficult to maintain the speed required by the overlookers. Children were usually hit with a strap to make them work faster. In some factories children were dipped head first into the water cistern if they became too tired to work.

Internet History Sourcebooks

From Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, 1842, Vol XVI, pp. 24, 196.

The Life of the Industrial Worker in Ninteenth-Century England

The physical deterioration of the manufacturing class in England was still noticeable in the 1930s, more than a century after the height of the Industrial Revolution. A medical observer's description of what the work did to the worker follows. The Physical Deterioration of the Textile Workers [P. Gaskell, The Manufacturing Population of England.

Agricultural Revolution in England 1500 - 1850

An enduring myth For many years the agricultural revolution in England was thought to have occurred because of three major changes: the selective breeding of livestock; the removal of common property rights to land; and new systems of cropping, involving turnips and clover.

FC109 - The Flow of History

A Dynamic and Graphic Approach to Teaching History