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Working conditions in factories
1833 2/3 of the workers in textile mills were women and children. The managers and supervisors were men.
Factory owners preferred women to operate the machines because they had nimblefingers and were good at
detailed and delicate work. Women would complain about working conditions or wages. They chose men to
be supervisors because they were authoritarian and strong, they would impose respect and were used to
Child labourers were very useful because they could do work that had to be done in small places. Children
had to crawl inside machines but at the same time couldn't break the threads that were over them. They were
agile and energetic and they accepted low wages and were easy to boss around and manipulate.
When working in factories people were exposed to machinery that wasn't caged, low roofed and small
windows, was given loose clothes that could get caught in machinery and cause an accident and children
were forced to clean between working machines.
The factories supervisors made sure kids worked well by beating, abusing, striping naked or starving the kid,
if the work wasn't satisfactory.
Kids would work up to 18 hours a day and were paid 7 pounds a week maximum.
Effects of industrialization
By 1785, machines were no longer powered with water, but were with steam. This meant factories could go
away from rivers and go near cities, were they could get coal. Towns had many engineers that could repair
steam machines. Many towns grew incredibly fast and overpopulation became a staggering problem. The
public toilets started to get filthy and no one would clean them, instead, they would dirty them more. This
brought about more illnesses and diseases. Cholera was striking the country and killed 50,000 people. The
government then decided to clean the town.
More production meant more wealth and cheaper products. People started to be able to afford decent
clothes. The wages were increased from 50% to 100% and working hours diminished by 20%. The
condition of population was much better, there was more tea consumption and the popular education was
extending. There was a reduction of crime and poverty and an increase of saving banks deposits.
Many other workers were given fewer wage than before and even fired, because new machinery replaced
the weavers and other manual work who had earned good wages. The fired people often broke down new
machinery to protest.
Trade and Empire
The main element of the British trade was the trade triangle. It was composed of Britain, America and Africa.
The British sent wealth to Africa where they bought slaves, these were sent to Africa and placed to work in
plantations, while the raw materials from there were sent to Britain to produce more exports to sell and get
wealth, to start the triangle again.
British trade means selling things made in Britain to foreign countries (exports) and bringing goods from
abroad which British people need and want to buy (imports). By 1700s Britain was trading with many
countries (worldwide). This worldwide market was centred in Europe.
An empire and trade are strongly connected because by having a large export market, money to invest,
colonies abroad that provided cheap raw materials and imports that provided cheap raw food Britain became
a trading empire. Cheap raw materials were used by businessmen to expand the industry, a key point in a
developed country. Colonies abroad were used to sell the good produced without competition. Along with al
these factors a large export market was assured.
Trade was the main source of Britain's wealth. Britain had an important foreign trade before the Industrial
Revolution started. This meant that:
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Rich merchants had money to invest in new industrial enterprises
Raw material from abroad such as cotton were readily available in Britain
A trading network was already in place to sell British industrial goods abroad.
WHY DID BRITAIN GAIN AN EMPIRE?
The 18s British Empire was a trading Empire. It did not consist of much territory but consisted mainly of
trading posts. Also, many of the British colonies were run by trading companies (not British companies).…read more