Saturday, 2 July 2016
Jane Castings - Living Conditions in England in the 19th Century (NON FICTION)
Many British people suffered from chronic hunger and malnutrition during the 19th
Century following on from the Industrial Revolution. A lot of people who had lived
and worked in the agricultural areas moved to the cities hoping to gain work in the
factories. There were many without employment and in such dire conditions it was
easy and deemed necessary to thieve to survive. The industrial slums were
appalling and poverty seemed to only start to improve for the lower classes
toward the end of the 19th Century.
According to Lambert,Tim in A World History Encyclopedia, 'Life in 19th Century
Britain': British Cities in the 19th Century, Poverty in the 19th Century at: http://www.localhistories.org/19thcent.html :
Cities in the 19th Century:
Living conditions in early 19th British century cities were often dreadful. However
there was one improvement. Gaslight was first used in 1807 in Pall Mall in
London. Many cities introduced gas street light in the 1820s. However early 19th
century cities were dirty, unsanitary and overcrowded. In them, streets were very
often unpaved and they were not cleaned. Rubbish was not collected and it was
allowed to accumulate in piles in the streets. Since most of it was organic when it
turned black and sticky it was used as fertilizer.
Poverty in the 19th Century:
more than 25% of the population of Britain … living at or below subsistence level.
Surveys indicated that around 10% were very poor and could not afford even
basic necessities such as enough nourishing food. Between 15% and 20% had
just enough money to live on (provided they did not lose their job or have to take
time off work through illness). If you had no income at all you had to enter the
workhouse. The workhouses were feared and hated by the poor. They were
meant to be as unpleasant as possible to deter poor people from asking the state
and in Wikipedia: Industrial Revolution>Social Effects>Standards of Living>Housing
at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution#Social_effects :
In The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 Friedrich Engels described backstreet sections of Manchester and other mill towns, where people lived in crude shanties and shacks, some not completely enclosed, some with dirt floors.
These shanty towns had narrow walkways between irregularly shaped lots and dwellings. There were no sanitary facilities. Population density was extremely high. Eight to ten unrelated mill workers often shared a room, often with no furniture, and slept on a pile of straw or sawdust. Toilet facilities were shared if they existed. Disease spread through a contaminated water supply.
Also, people were at risk of developing pathologies due to persistent dampness.
... urban people - especially small children—died due to diseases spreading
through the cramped living conditions. Tuberculosis (spread in congested
dwellings), lung diseases from the mines, cholera from polluted water and typhoid
were also common.