Transformation of Britain

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Factories: Factory Reform, work of groups- GNCTU

GNCTU- Grand national Consolidation Trade Union

Leaders: Robert Owen

Members: 500, 000 meant they were a threat to the governemt 

What did they want to change: 

  • Shorter working hours
  • An end to child labour

Actions: Members paid 5p a week to supoort strikes


  • Didn't attract enough respectable trade
  • Always short of money
  • aimed to high, with radical ideas 
  • poor commication between different strike groups= aimed to high to soon
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Poverty: Role of Chadwick

Edwin Chadwick was one of the leadind commissioners, who worked on the royal commission in 1832.

his  final report was critical of the old Poor Law system and it recommended major changes.

  • He believed that the poor should work for something- work themselves out of poverty rather then being given money to not do anything
  • His report focused on the theory of utilitarianism: the principle of utility, which approves of an action in so far as an action has an overall tendency to promote the greatest amount of happiness. Happiness is identified with pleasure and the absence of pain. 

He recommended:

  • Workhouses should not be comfy but instead by harsh and brutal so that only the most desperate of people would enter them
  • People who couldnt look after themselves should go to workhouses
  • All outdoor relief should end for able bodied people instead they should be put into workhouses
  • Parishes should be grouped together to form unions, with a board of Governers to control it 
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Poverty: Swing Riots

Between 1830-1832 labourers in both the north and south turned to violence to solve thier problems or being replaced by machinery. 

  • Gangs with clubs or flamming torches at night attacked farmer's property
  • Hayricks and threshing machines were the most common targets 

The majoriy of these attacks happened in the southern areas of England as down south the work was not as regualr as workers were hired for the week or for the day 

The attacks were genrally followed by a threatening letter: 

  • Many of these letters were signed by "captin Swing" who was descirbed as being an eveil genius sent to stir up the rural masses. He was however a fictional characte. 

Due to the recent french revolution, the british government were fearful that there would be a similar uprising in Britain.

  • They caused £120,000 worth of damage
  • 457 men were sentenced to transportation, and several hundred were sent to prison
  • 9 men were hanged  
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Migration: Scottland and Ireland

North of Scottland

People migrated out of Scottland because the landowners (Highland cheifs) had sold up and moved away. The new owners generally did not care for the existing clan loyalty or rent collection. This lead to the people in Scottland moving away or being forced out= this led to them seeking employmeny  in idustrial towns                                                     


The land in Ireland was wet and soggy meaning potatos could be grown there- people moved there because of this

1845-1849: Fungal infections called the blight hit led to 1/3 all crops being rotten. Meant crops failed and people couldn't earn money which led to many irish people migrated to the industrial towns of England. 

Around 1 million people had died by 1851, and by 1851 another 1 million people had migrated to England 

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Poverty: Successes and failures of the Act


  • It reduced the amount of money that the upper and middle classes spent on relief for the poor
  • It united the entire country under one system rather than the different systems in place before hand 
  • The workhouse now became a last resort for families rather than the first option when times became hard (speenhamland system)= lower costs


  • Richard Oastler (a political campaigner) wrote pamphlets and letters to newspapers describing the Poor Law Amendment Act as cruel and unchristian.
  • Oastler described the workhouses as prisons for the poor
  • The poor became scared of the threat of having to move into a workhouse for help. In north England they rioted and attacked workhouses.
  • In Andover it was reported that people living in the workhouse were starving to death and were trying to eat the bones that they were crushing as part of their work.
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Factories: Robert Owens

Robert Owen believed that 'men should work to produce happiness for all, not to make profits for a few Co- operations, not competion, is better way of running industry and society'


  • Under Robert Owens they had to attend school until they were 10 years old. Only then were they allowed to work in the factories
  • Physical punishments were forbidden in the schools and the factories 


  • No adult was allowed to work for more than 10 1/2 hours a day
  • Physical punishment was forbidden in the mills
  • Sick pay was provided when a worker fell ill
  • All the houses in the mill village were provided with good sanitation

Robert Owen also:

  • Toured the coutry making speeches about the sucess of his experiment
  • Wrote books and phamphlets about his landmark experiment 
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Factories: The working conditions

  • Machinery was often dangerous and operated by people with no qualifications on operating it
  • Operators were more ocncerned over loss of profits then loss of lives

Increase value was placed on profits then human lives because of the volume of people waiting to take a person place in factories

  • Women's hair was often caught in the machines which lead to loss of life most frequently 
  • Many people also lost limbs due to the dangerous nature of the machines
  • Many young chilren were often employed to crawl under the cotten machines to pick up loose bits of cotten which was a very dangerous job and many children lost their lives or limbs due to the job
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Poverty: Speenhamland System

Speenhamland System: payments rose according to the cost of bread

Short term:

  • helped avoid wide spread riots and disturbances 

Long Term:

  • Damaged the claiments sense of pride and self respect
  • Farmers were tempted to keep wages low as they knew that the parish would top them up 

Critics claimed it encouraged people to marry young and have children younger, as the income rose depending on the amount of children you had and if you were married or not. 


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Poverty: The class System

The Labouring Poor: Those who will work

  • Had manual jobs, some of which were well paid.
  • Some skilled artisans such as cabinent makers and jewellers
  • Others were labourers such as navies and coal miners

The Labouring Poor: Those who cannot work

  • Manual jobs which were affected by the seasons
  • The sick or injured who couldnt work

The labouring Poor: Those who will not work

  • Beggers
  • Criminals 
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Poverty: Poor Laws from 1601-1832


  • Outdoor Relief: food, clothing and medical care but only to the desrving poor
  • This made the local parish responsible for all of its paupers

1622: The settlement Act

  • Allowed parishes to send paupers away from elsewhere after 40 days
  • Unless he/she had a note agreeing their previous parish would pay for their upkeep

1722: The Work House Act

  • Made each parish build workhouse for the poor
  • Most parishes however prefered outdoor relief because it was cheaper
  • Unfair on local traders who made the same items which thr workhouse made

1782: Gilberts Act

  •  Roundmen system: the poor would work on local farms- parish would pay half there wages
  • Allowed parishes to work together to build workhouse to house the old, the sick and children
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Railways: Why did railways grow?

Although migration itself was not new, it had been difficult and correspondingly rare. The birth of the steam locomotive and the railway networks made it easier and more commonplace.The age of the railway had begun:

  • People flocked to invest in this new technological advancment that was showing impressive profits 
  • reducing transport times
  • lowering transport costs
  • consuming raw materials 

Railways grew becuase it allowed towns and cities to be connected, which then allowed for people to visit places and migrate to find better work.

  • Queen Victoria pronounced herself to be a devotee of railway travel after her first trip in 1842
  • by 1852 £300 million had been invested in the railways.

By 1850 there was 6,084 total miles of track compared to the 50 miles in 1830 

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Railways: Role of Stephenson

George Stephenson

  • Built his first train, the Blucher, at Killingworth Colliery and demonstrated that a train could run along an iron track at six miles an hour without a stationary engine.
  • Stephenson used a fixed gauge (width of the track) of 4 feet, 8.5 incheswhen designing the Stockton to Darlington Railway, which is the world's standard gauge and still used in Britain today.
  • The Stockton to Darlington Railway (1825) was a great commercial success and Stephenson became famous. He was asked to design the Liverpool to Manchester Railway line.


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Railways: Technological and Economic effects

Economic Reasons:

  • Canal routes were very slow and expenisve as tolss had been increasing sharply
  • The cites had out grown canals
  • Larger railway compainies were more efficient
  • 275,000 were employed by railway compainies by 1873
  • Brick Industry also grew due to the growing need caused by the railway boom

Technological reasons:

  • They worked out how to harness the steam engine- no need to relie on natrual resources
  • 1804- Richard Trevithick was the first person to put a steam engine onto wheels
  • 1812- Basic steam (John Blenkinsop)
  • 1820- John Birkinshaw developed wraught iron strong rails

Political Reasons:

  • Parliament were in favour of railways 
  • 1834 railway act meant you could travel for 1p a mile/ government could take control of any unsafe railway compainies 
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Chartism: Why did it fail?

Economic Reasons:

  • Bad trade led to people supporting whilst low unemployment led to a fall of supporters= People only supported them when un-employment was high
  • The railway boom led to increase in jobs as the government needed the man power which in turn led to a drop in supporters

Influence form the Government:

  • 1st petition- 3 miles long and contained 1.28 million signatures. It was presented by John Fielden and Thomas Attwood who were both MPs. The commons, however by a vote of 235 to 46 refused to even consider it.
  • 2nd petition- in 1840 as unemployment rose Fergus O'Connor collected 3 million signatures. Again the commons refused it with a vote of 287 to 49
  • 3rd petition- in 1847 the last petition was presented to the government it contained 1.47 million however it turned many of these were fake. 

These factors inturn limited the moral force and also removed the credibility of the chartists 

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Chartism: What was it?

The aim of the Chartists was to gain political rights and influence for the working classes. Chartismgot its name from the formal petition, or People's Charter, that listed the six main aims of the movement.

  • All men to have the vote (universal manhood suffrage)
  • Voting should take place by secret ballot
  • Parliamentary elections every year, not once every five years
  • Constituencies should be of equal size
  • Members of Parliament should be paid
  • The property qualification for becoming a Member of Parliament should be abolished 

By 1918, five of the Chartists' six demands had been achieved - only the stipulation that parliamentary elections be held every year was unfulfilled.

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Population: The factors

Increased- Marriages

People in the 1800's began to marry younger, which inturn led to more children and a higher increased population

Increased- Idependence

During the 1700 many farm labourers lived with their employers= less privacy and not many children. However during the 1800s changes in village life meant labourers lived in their own cottage = increased birth of children and marriages

Increased- Economic Asset

As the industry grew due to the industrial revolution, younger children were able to earn valuable wages. Children thus became an incentive to have.

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Parliamentary Reform: Elections pre 1832

During the 19th century there were to two types of constituencys: county and borough both of these were entiltied to send two MPs to Parliament.

However some of these boroughs were know as rotten boroughs.

  • Dunwich was bustling port in the 1200's when it was granted borough status but by 1831 most of it had dissapeard beneath the sea. Only 42 houses remained but they were still entilted to send 2 MPs to parliament.

The other type of boroughs were known as pocket boroughs.

  • They were known as this because they were in the 'pocket' of the local gentry who controlled was elected to parliament.
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Parliament Reform: Parliament Reform Act- critics

For Reform:

  • fairer distrubution of seats and an end to corruption
  • More men to be bale to vote and to become apart of the britsih political system

They thought by doing this it would bring stability to the country and avoid revolution

Against Reform:

  • believed the existing system worked well
  • reform would open the door to revolution
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Problems of Migration

  • Over Crowding in cities. Due to the huge influx of people moving to a small place in short amount of time. Many houses housed more than one family at a time and normally at very high rents
  • Poorer quality of housing in some towns as they were having to be built so quickly to keep up with the amount of people moving to the towns in the search of work 
  • Due to the cramped conditions people lived in, it lead to disease spreading quickly and outbreaks were common place 
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Factories: Government Acts on Working Conditions

1802: Health and Morals Apprentices Act

  • The main proposer was Robert Peel
  • What it said: Factory Apprentices only. A maximum 12 hour day; good accommodation and medical treatment
  • Was it successful: Only factory apprentices and it wasnt enforced

1819: Factory Act 

  • Main Propser was Robert Owen
  • What is said: A maximum 12 hour day. No child under the age of nine to work
  • Was it Successful?: No enforced

1833: Factory Act

  • Main proposer was Lord Ashley, Earl of shaftesbury
  • No child under the age of nine to work. 
  • Children between the ages of nine and thirteen: 48 week and must go to school part time
  • Was it successful?: Four inspectors made sure the law was obeyed 
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Population: rural to industrialisation


  • Means of production have changed to factories instead of the domestic system 
  • Steam power runs factory and workshop machine
  • Railway networks now links most of Britain's towns and villages
  • Industry now uses railways instead of water ways to move goods
  • 10% of Britain's workforce now work on farmland
  • The biggest industries are steel, iron, coal and textiles
  • 33 towns have popualtions above 100,000
  • England's population is 30 million 
  • People travel by rail than road
  • Iron production is 8.96 million tons a year
  • Britain's population is 40 million
  • Liverpool to London now takes 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • 8/10 people now live in towns 
  • Coal production is 225.2 million tons a year
  • Farm machinery is still pulled by horses
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Benefits of Migrations

  • More workers, meant that more products could be produced. Factory owners made more money which meant that the countries ecconomy grew
  • More children were being born due to an increase of people marrying young. The increase of more children meant that families could earn more money as children were put to work at a young age
  • More Transport links were being created being the newly industrilsed towns as a way of sending goods quickly across the country
  • More houses were being built and to a better standard then before  
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Factories: The working conditions

  • Factories were very noisey places and many people went deaf because of it
  • During winter they were never heated so mnay people developed froastbite of hyperthermia
  • During summer they were not properly ventilated which meant many people suffered from dehydration 
  • No protection against the dangerous chemicals or gases that were used. 

For example the match stick girls- developed gapping holes in their faces caused by the toxic chemicals used in the making of match sticks 

  • Factory owners were also not liable for any injuries that their employees suffered 
  • Many people suffered hurrendous injuries caused by the machines such as amputated limbs
  • There was no free health care on offer which meant hospital care was very expensive even though the treatment was poor

Those who made it to hospital has little chance of survival due to this 

  • No safety features on dangerous machines such as drive bands
  • Main concerns for factory owners was profits and not the care of their employees as there were many other people willing to take their employees places  
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Factories: Government Acts on Working Conditions

1847: Ten hours act

  • proposed by John Fielden
  • No worker to work more than 10 hours a day 
  • Ineffective monitoring 

1850: The Coal Mines Inspection Act

  • Introduced the appointment of inspectors of coal mines, setting out their powers and duites
  • The inspectors were also placed under the supervision of the home office
  • Strengthed their powers by allowing them to check the working conditions underground

1855: Ventilation law is passed

  • Proper ventilation had to be installed in the mines 

1860: The Coal Mines Regulation Act 

  • Improved safety rules
  • raised the age limit for boys from 10 to 12
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Factories: work of groups- Co-Operatives

Members: they had no leaders as the working men was the leader                                              28 men in Lancashire started it and by 1851 there were over 130 shops owned

What did they want to change?: They wanted to make things fair for the working man and woman


  • 2p a week to become a member
  • Buy honest good quality goods for a fair price
  • No credit was given= no family could fall into debt


  • Encouraged women to play a part in running the buinesses- gave them self respect
  • Ran educatio classes= working class peole gained idepended in their own affairs
  • provided the poor with affordable insurance and funerals 

Failures: There was however a lack of financial security 

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Mines: Shaftesbury and the Royal commission

1838: 26 children drown when the Huskar colliery near Barnsley floods.

  • Queen Victoria orders an inquiry to be held into the lives of women and children working in the coal mines

The House of Lords opposed the royal commission because many of the lords owned coal mines and the repport would result in a loss of profits

1842: Royal Commission

  • Lord Shaftesbury heads up the royal commission into the working conditions for women and children 
  • It revealed that the mine owners showed a critical lack concern or repsonsibilty for the welfare of thier workers.
  • It showed that it was common for children young as eight to be employed and sometimes even younger 
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Migration: Britain

In Britain only the industrial Cities Grew. This was because:

  • People in the Countryside, espesscially the smaller farms, could not compete with the larger farms who relied on machines= less and less famr labourers were needed

This led to people moving away from the countryside and into industrial towns to work

  • Enclosures meant that smaller farms when the previous tennats left were combined with other small farms to form larger farms
  • People also moved to newly industrilised cities due to better prospects, housing, shops, pubs, music halls and chapels 
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Factories: work of groups- 10 hour movement

Leaders: Richard Oastlet and Robert Owens

Members: Mill and factory owners (John Wood) also the everyday worker

What did they want to change?: They wanted to reduce the number of hours people worked to 10 hours

Actions: Yorkshire Slavery Letter

Sucesses: There efforts ended in a law being mad


  • When it become a law, there was nobody around it enforce it
  • Most MPs were against the law because of their interests in mines and factories
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Poverty: Poor Laws from 1601-1832

1792: The speehhamland System is put into place 

  • Offered a short term solution and a long term solution

1832: Royal Commission  

  • Said that the old poor laws encouraged idleness
  • Proposed an end to outdoor relief 
  • The entire country would be run under one system
  • Parishes to for, unions to run larger, more efficent workhouses
  • Workhouses should be harsh to act as deterrent for people who were willing not to work 
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Poverty: Poor Law Amendment Act

The new Poor Law was seen as the final solution to the problem of pauperism, which would work wonders for the moral character of the working man, but it did not provide any such solution. It improved neither the material nor moral condition of the working class However, it was less inhumane than its opponents alleged.

The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act was ruthlessly and efficiently enforced in rural southern England as soon as it was passed, and was exceedingly unpopular. It was not implemented in the north until later.

  • Parishes were grouped into unions, each union were to build a workouse to house the poor
  • Except in special circumstances, poor people could now only get help if they were prepared to leave their homes and go into a workhouse. 
  • The poor were made to wear a uniform and the diet was monotonous.
  • There were also strict rules and regulations to follow: Inmates, male and female, young and old were made to work hard, often doing unpleasant jobs such as picking oakum or breaking stones.
  • Children could also find themselves hired out to work in factories or mines.
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Factories: Government Acts on Working Conditions

1862: Single shaft mines are made illegal

1872: Mine managers have to now hold a certificate qualifying them for the job

1878: Factory and Workshops Act

  • No women to work more than 60 hours a week
  • No child under ten to work
  • Laws on safety, ventilation and mealtimes
  • Was it Successful?: Covered all factories and workshops. There were also more inspectors to ensure factory and workshop owners were abidding by the law
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Population: Factors connected with increased popul

Decreased- Epidemics

Medical evidence shows that due to medical improvements their were fewer epidemics then in previous centuries. For example smallmox: killer disease among children responsible for 15% of all deaths, after vaccinations and innoculations became availible the death rate fell to 2%.

Increased - use of Bricks

People began to use bricks to build their houses replacing mud and thatch which were previously used. This led to better housing and better health. This in turn lead to falling death rates

Increased - Better Diet 

Diet had improved for adults which meant that there were healthier adults which lead to healthier children. Life expectancy rose from 40 years (women and men) to 50 years (men) and 48 years (women) 

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Poverty: The class System

During the 19th century British society was spilt into six catergories:


  • Held seats in the House of Lords
  • Owned large amounts of estates and Houses
  • Dukes, Earls, viscounts and barons most of whom inherited their positions in society


  • Most inherited their posistion in society
  • Many held posistions in local areas to help the poor
  • Owned land but smaller estates than the aristocracy
  • Lived mainly off investments

Middle Class

  • Did not have manual labour jobs
  • Some inherited their posistions in society, whilst others earned their positions in society by being doctors, teachers, lawyers 
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Mines: Conditions in the mines

The miners: 

  • The miners or hewers dug out the coal. 
  • They were paid to how much coal they produced so they often worked more than 14 hour shifts 
  • The conditions were normally so hot and bad that they worked naked


  • They were controlled by children as young as 4 as they were the only people small enough to operate the trapdoors
  • It was very dangerous and cramped as the tunnels were only big enough to allow for the carts to go though


  • Explosiosn happened frequently and were a common place because gases built up behind the coal faces 
  • When the miners hit the coal face, they would expload killing most the men 
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Mines: Conditions in the mines

Tunel Collapses:

Due to the Hewes (a man or an older boy who worked in narrow tunnels, they cut coal from the coal face with picks) extracting coal from the coal face they had to install beams either coal pillars or in most cases beams made from wood or rocks. The support systems usually could not withstand the force required to prevent collapse of the roofs. 

Explosions and Flooding:

The deeper mines became increasingly prone to explosions and flooding. Flooding was controlled by the steam engine pumping out excess water. Hence the greater chance of finding dangerous gases as they were so far down. The dangerous gases normally resulted in the miners being poisoned of the mine exploding


Shafts were cut away from the surface to allow clean fresh air into the otheriwse cramped conditions. A fire was normally lit at the bottom to draw cool air to it. 

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Poverty: Beliefs about poverty

 Poverty was not seen as a social problem: destitution was felt to be the result of character weakness and that the poor laws were encouring people to live off outdoor relief and to not look for work. 

The royal commission believed that it was the poor law itself that caused poverty


  • Concern was growing about the system of poor relief led to the setting up of a Royal Commission.
  • At the same time principles and management of the old Poor Law were also challenged on the grounds both of mismanagement and inefficiency and its alleged cause of rapid population growth. 
  • The practice of giving child allowances under the old Poor Law was seen as encouraging large families
  • The alleged generosity of outdoor relief was seen as benefiting the feckless and reducing the resources available to the deserving poor.
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Factories: Government Acts on Working Conditions

1838: Queen Victoria orders an inquiry to be the death os 26 childrens who died working in the mines 

1842: Lord Shaftesbury heads up a royal commission into the women and children working in coal mines

  • it caused widespread public dismay at the depths of human degradation
  • oweners showed a critical lack of concern or responsibilty for the welfare of their workers 
  • It showed that it was common for children as young at eight to be employe, but they were oftern younger

1842: Mines Act

  • Main proposer Robert Peel
  • No child under the age of 10 to work 
  • No women or child under the age of 15 to work underground
  • Was it Successful?: Inspectors employed to report on the conditions 

1843: No worker under the age of 15 was to be left in charge of winding gear in the mines 

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Population: rural to industrialisation

Pre Industrialisation 

  • People travel by wagon or walk whichis slow 
  • Large Machines are driven by water
  • 50% of the workforce of Britain work on farmland
  • Water transport is used for bulk goods
  • Farm machinery is pulled by oxens or horses
  • Only one town has a population of 100,000+
  • less than 2/10 people live in towns
  • There are no railways
  • Coal Production is 2.5 million tons a year and iron production is 24,000 tons
  • Farming uses the domestic: production takes place in place in peopls's homes or small workshops
  • Wool Industry is the scond most important industry
  • Englands population is 4 million
  • Britain's population is 9 million 
  • Mine shafts are drained by horse power
  • Small machines are driven by human power 
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Mines: Mine Act of 1842

1842: Mines and Colleries Act 

  • legislation was passed by the house of commons called the Mines and Colleries Act. It prohibited all underground work for women, girls and for boys under the age of 10 
  • However it still allowed for parish apprentices between the gaes of 8 and 10 to work in the mines 

The act came to pass due to Mines:

Being “a nursery for juvenile vice which you will go far and wide above ground to equal”, said one witness to the Children’s Employment Commission of 1842.It is “scarcely possible for girls to remain modest in the pits, regularly mixing with such company and hearing such language as they do”, complained another.

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Parliamentary Reform: Elections pre 1832

Who could vote?:

  •  In county: Any man who owned property worth more than £2 a year
  • In burage boroughs: voting rights were handed down from father to son
  • In pot-walloper boroughs: It was enought to own a hearth and not be claiming poor relief  
  • Scot and lot boroughs: allowed all men who paid certain ancient taxes  the right to vote

All these different types of boroughs meant in some boroughs all men could vote whereas in other only about a hundred could vote,

The election:

  • Polls were open for several days to allow time for people to vote
  • The voting was done openly, not in secret: voters walked in and called out who they were voting for.= people could easily be imtimidated and bribed into voting for people.

Also newly industrilised towns such as Manchester, Leeds, and midland towns like Birmingham did not have a single representatives in Parliament due to the old system 

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Parliamentary Reform: 1832 Parliament Reform Act

On the 7th June 1832 the king signed the Reform Bill and it became the Reform Act.

Who could now vote:

  • Men who owned property
  • Men who could afford to rent properties or land of an reasonable size

The distribition of seats:

  • 56 rotten boroughs lost their MPs
  • 30 boroughs lost one of their two MPs
  • Towns such as Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester sent MPs to Westmister 


  • 18% of adult males now had the right to vote compared the 11% before
  • The industrilal midlands and north were now represented in Parliament
  • Some of the corruptions from rotten and pocket boroughs were removed
  • The middle class vote increased because all adult men with property over £10 could vote
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Chartism: Fergus O'Connor

Fergus O'Connor was an Irish Chartist leader and advocat of the Land plan which sought to provide small holdings for the labouring classes.

  • Before joining the chartist movment he was apart of the United Irish Radical 
  • O'Connor toured the country campaiging for political reform, universal male suffrage and better working conditions- industrial districks of england and Scotland 
  • Fergus O'Connor was also the MP for Cork in 1832 which allowed him to learn first hand about the english political system
  • 'The Northern Star' O'Connor's newspaper provided the link for O'Connor which allowed for his ideas to be spread further afield

On the 29th September 1839 he and other Chartists offered and ultimatum to the Government stating that 'unless they agree'd to six points they wanted to change about the political system they would begin to get violent'.

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Railways: Role of Brunnel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a pioneering railway engineer who designed steam trains, oversaw the construction of new railway tracks and built bridges and tunnels along his railway routes.
  • Brunel became the chief engineer of the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1833. The railway linked the towns of London and Bristol and was often referred to as "God's Wonderful Railway" because the route was so smooth.
  • Brunel built the Tamar Bridge and Box Tunnel to overcome major obstacles on the route.
  • One of the reasons why Brunel's railway routes and tracks were so smooth is because, unlike George Stephenson, he used a gauge of 7 feet, 3 inches. Unfortunately, 92 per cent of the railway tracks in Britain had already been built at Stephenson's gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches. 
  • This led to the Gauge Act being passed in 1846, which stated that all train tracks had to be built to George Stephenson's gauge width, making it easier for trains to run on all tracks across the country.
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The Great Exhibition: What was it?

The Great Exhibition was a showcase of everything that made the World and British Empire Great.

What was on display?:

  • 100,000 exhibitions
  • Half of the building was dedicated to Great Britain and its colonies and the other half to the rest of the world 

Who built it?:

  • There was competion to find the winning design 254 entered and were deemed unsuitable
  • The Great Exhibition was the brain child of prince Albert
  • Robert Stephson and isambad Kingdom- Brunnel were on the building comittee
  • The winning idea came from Joseph paxton, who manged the duke of devonshire estate 

Who visted it?:

  • The upper classes held seaon tickets for the great exhibitions
  • The poorer classes held 1pound and shilling tickets 
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The Great Exhibition: Why was it important?

The great exhibition was important as 6 million people attended.

  • It helped bring about a change in attitudes towards working class people
    • organisers were suprised that families from the midwest and north (the poorer areas) did not break or touch any of the crystal in the great exhibition
  • It also conconvined railway compaines that excersions day were a profitable ventures 
    • Lancaster and carlisle railway company running days out to the Great exhibition.
    • This also showed socal mobility as previously days out were a luxury and not for wokring class people
  • Helped Britian to show off to the world that it was more superior in the industrial side of things 

However in 1851, punch magazine released a cartoon which showed that they did not think that the Great Exhibition would benefit the lives of the average person such as needle women, labourers etc. 

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