Many factories would employ children because they were cheaper, could possibly work for longer, were naive and less likely to complain, and smaller. The benefits for their family would be extra income and an education.
Parliament led inquiries about the factory conditions in order to appeal new laws. They wanted to know how many children under 13 were being employed and if the conditions were cruel. Reformers especially wanted this.
However, there has been much controversy. Reformers would often pay factory workers to go to the inquiries. Parliament asked leading questions.
It is generally agreed that conditions were bad. Children had to do backbreaking work for less than a shilling (1/-), around 10d. They were not allowed to open windows as the cotton became damp, which meant it was horrible and stuffy. Many coughed blood because of the paticles of cotton in the air. Children had to work between dangerous machines and were in danger of death. There was a black market on certificates.
Public housing and health
Housing for the poor was horrible. While the rich had multiple bedrooms and water closets, the poor lied in back to back terraces, a large family living in one or two rooms, sometimes sharing with another family. There were many cholera epidemics due to the fact that the water pipes were close to the privy cesspit. When it rained, the faeces in the cesspit would leak into the water supply, causing huge epidemics of disease.In 1832, 20,000 died from cholera. Luckily, Edwin Chadwick mapped these cases and associated them to the slums. It was narrow and there were only one or two privies. This was before Louis Pasteur had discovered germs and how t get rid of them. There were cheap drains, bad smell, and no sewers. The river was polluted, and inhabitants were using that water to drink, cook, and wash clothes in. The Great Stink of 1858 was when the Thames was so full of waste that Parliament couldn't hold any meetings. The solution was to either put all the waste in the middle of the Thamesas building sewers was very slow due to the lack of money and materials. It was overcrowed, some families living in cellars. Towns were growing quickly, which meant that buildings had to be built quickly. This meant that buildings were unstable and of poor quality. There was only 12 people to collect the waste of 7,000. The Public Health Act made some reccomendations. There was a constant lack of good food, which meant people were malnourished. People had low wages but high rents, which meant that they could often not afford food. Charities would help with this. There was also a huge gap between the rich and poor