Changes In Life During Industrial Revolution

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The Industrial Revolution was a period of time when there was a rapid change in the development of people and technology.

This happened throughout the 17th-18th Century. People worked every day to support their lives and their family so they could survive, they had kids of all ages working in these horrific It is agreed that the industrial revolution world for the better as now we have extremely different rules in place for workers and workplaces, now we have much more efficient technology that helps us every day.

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The first change to the lives of the working class and poor was their daily jobs and working conditions.

The migration for the new jobs brought massive damages to their lives. The nineteenth-century textile factory was a dangerous and unpleasant place to work, poor light and ventilation and excessive heat made working conditions very uncomfortable and difficult to work in. Machines were not fenced off and had no safety guards around moving parts, so workers were always at risk of injury or even death. Constant bending and working in cramped conditions often led to physical deformities of the skeleton in factory workers which would cause major pain and grief. Dust and other residues from the cotton found their way into the workers’ lungs, causing severe illnesses like the phossy jaw. Jobs like being a ‘dipper’ whose job was to dip the ends of matches into white phosphorus which would eventually lead to a phossy jaw.

Phossy jaws affected those who worked with white phosphorus without the proper safety equipment. The first symptoms of the disease were a very painful toothache and swelling of the gums. Over time, pus formed, abscesses recurred and many teeth fell out.

The phossy jaw is an occupational disease that was rampant in the 19th century and early 20th century among people working in the match industry. During that time, white phosphorus was most commonly used for making matchsticks. Another issue workers would be faced with consisted of heatstroke from the immense weather conditions they would be working in each day, overexertion, these types of injuries are usually caused by repetitive motion, such as typing, lifting heavy objects, or working in an awkward position.

Children as young as 6 years of age were used in factories and mines, they had long and inflexible work hours. It is believed these hours ranged from 14 hours a day or 70 hours per week. Jobs from the Industrial Revolution were very dangerous jobs including working on big heavy machines in factories, selling newspapers on street corners, breaking up coal at the coal mines, and as chimney sweeps and Piecers. Children employed as ‘piecers’ were required to lean over the spinning machine and repair broken threads. They had to do this while the machine was running and often had more than one machine to watch. Sometimes children were preferred to adults because they were small and could easily fit between machines and into small spaces. By doing this children would be getting killed or severely injured as their bodies were so small and fragile, they would get caught and stuck in small places, crushed by falling pieces from the mines, or getting killed for not doing enough work/ getting the job wrong. Another reason these companies would use lots of children as it was very cheap for them, they would underpay the children and get away with doing so. Children would only earn a third or sometimes less of what a man would get paid, women also faced this problem with getting underpaid/ unfair payment. Women would usually be used for machine operators, textile producers, matchmakers, and laundry women, even though these jobs rarely caused significant injuries for their children it was much worse. Young girls from the ages of 4 were made to be ‘trappers’ and their job was to sit in the dark and open and shut the big doors to let the coal through the tunnels, this was risking rocks and other falling debris hitting the young children and potentially killing them. For the ‘hurriers’, they were required to carry heavy baskets or tow trucks full of coal to the surface. The children and young teenagers would be forced to strap a metal chain around their waist daily to pull loads of coal to the surface which ended up damaging the skeleton of the girl’s pelvic bones.

The last issue to be spoken of is the laws and rules for the poor. In the time of the Industrial Revolution, the poor were looked after by a system that had been created around the sixteenth century. Villages had to care for their own poor, some of the money was used to supply daily needs like food or to be able to live in their houses. In some villages or parishes special places had been built to feed and shelter the poor and unfortunate, usually known as workhouses, they were always very crowded and were not a stable living condition for anyone. In 1830 the British Government set up a royal commission designed for a few of these reasons

  • for those only living in a workhouse should have the right for any assistance.
  •  Workhouses should be extremely unpleasant places to live to stop just any random people wanting to live there.

Living conditions were purposely made horrible, under the families of the old law were allowed to stay together but with the new law, families were split up. Men and women were kept separate and their children were taken away from them, in most cases, each of the people that lived at the workhouse was put to work, jobs consisting of breaking stones or hand grinding crops. These living conditions would have been extremely hard for the poor, to be put to work all day than to come back to the horrible uneasy lifestyle at the workhouse.

In conclusion, life during the industrial revolution would have changed in a negative way. The working conditions were horrific for people of all ages, people being forced into illegal work for little to no pay. The Industrial Revolution was a time of progress, since the time of Industrial Revolution current society still uses technology from this horrific stage in history.  

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