Victorian England: Factories and Trades

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Victorian England: Factories and Trades by Mind Map: Victorian England: Factories and Trades

1. As of today

1.1. As time went on, the conditions that workers had faced in the 19th century had drastically improved through years of imperative reform. Today England is a leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors and in key technical industries, particularly aerospace, the arms industry, and the manufacturing side of the software industry. Since the 1970s however, there has been a decline in traditional heavy and manufacturing industries, and an increased emphasis on a more service-oriented economy. Two thirds of production in England is devoted to livestock, and the other to arable crops.

2. Understanding History

2.1. The impact of The Industrial Revolution

2.2. Factory work greatly affected the life experiences of children, men, and women. For children, factory work served as a form of hard schooling. It channeled into adult factory jobs child workers who obeyed orders, worked diligently, and survived the health hazards and tedium. While the Industrial Revolution eventually put great pressure on men to engage in paid work outside the home continuously from adulthood to retirement, some men, particularly older men, refused to work in the factories and preferred to engage in spot labor and work around the home.

2.3. The Industrial Revolution was a great change in the method of manufacturing. Before the revolution, manufactured items were often done in a specialist’s home and by hand. The method was also quite slow. However, beginning in Britain, with the introduction of more advanced machinery and large factories, mass production of goods became possible. The Industrial Revolution not only made the manufacturing of goods efficient, but it also paved way for improved systems of transportation, communication, and banking.

2.4. Understanding Man

2.4.1. The Industrial Revolution brought upon a change in gender roles . Prior to the Revolution, men and women often worked at home and sometimes even together. They practiced their trades with little need to leave their house. However, when the Industrial Revolution occurred, men and even women were forced to work grueling hours away from home in factories or mills. This also created a large divide in gender roles. Men became the “bread winners,” working away during the day and coming home during the night while women stayed at home in order to take care of their children.

3. Factors behind the Revolution

3.1. The Factories Involved in the Industrial Revolution

3.1.1. Richard Arkwright is the person credited with being the brains behind the growth of factories. After he patented his spinning frame in 1769, he created the first true factory at Cromford, near Derby.

3.1.2. The Industrial Revolution radically changed the organization of work. In the new factories, a large number of workers gathered together six or seven days a week to engage in tightly coordinated tasks paced by machinery. This new organization of work implied a sharp distinction between work and home. In earlier types of work, such as farming, trades, and cottage industries, work and home were not necessarily separate spheres and child labor was not a public issue.

3.2. Quality of life for people during these times

3.2.1. What was it like to work in factories? In the 19th century, before safety regulations were implemented, factories contained a plethora of hazardous situations. The poor ventilation and the steam engines created a very hot work environment; the heat and dust from the machines seriously affected workers’ health by ruining their lungs and exhausting them. The large, dangerous machinery was not fenced off, and, even worse, small children were hired to do work and operate things in the small spaces between these dangerous machines. Most workers worked for more than 12 hours a day; some even worked for over 16 hours a day. The exhaustion from all of this time spent working led to workers dozing off on the job, often falling in between the unprotected machinery parts and seriously maiming themselves or even dying. Factories were run for profit. Any form of machine safety guard cost money. As a result there were no safety guards. Safety clothing was non-existent. Workers wore their normal day-to-day clothes. In this era, clothes were frequently loose and an obvious danger. At the time when the Industrial Revolution was at its height, very few laws had been passed by Parliament to protect the workers. 

3.2.2. How much money did the average worker make? Research the economic levels of other members of society during the nineteenth century. Children More than anyone else, children were the worst off in the industrial revolution. Because there were many orphans in the time preceding the industrial boom, a mill owner would take advantage of their misfortune by providing cheap food and shabby shelter in place of any pay. In the wake of the steam engine’s impact and sudden urbanization, children were relocated to work in sweaty factories, and even long work hours only earned them at most 2 or 4 shillings per week. Teenagers Although all children earned about the same amount per week, a discrepancy began to appear in the wages between genders starting at age 16. Male wages shot up compared to female wages, to a point where even teenage boys would earn more than their mothers. In 1833, the average working-class woman earned about 7 shillings for a single week. Everyone else For most other people, including skilled laborers, the average wage ranged between 20 and 30 shillings each week. Although this was more than twice of what the women and children earned, it was still not enough for a decent standard of living. Even with the entire family slaving away all day, most families could only afford to live in cellars instead of normal homes, and even that was a difficult ordeal. Despite this, things began to get better as the industrial revolution got moving some more, with the average income increasing by 70 percent by 1860.

4. Factories, Trades, And Workers

4.1. Factories could produce products in a much faster time than a tradesman or an artisan could, and at a cheaper cost. This caused some artisans to protest against machinery, that could replace them with factory workers who were mostly unskilled workers, and were people of the lower classes. Children worked as well, with long hours and dangerous work, such as squeezing through small gaps that only children could do. The work was fairly simple, but the long hours and little to no breaks was tiresome. Children grew up with physical deformities, some missing limbs or digits from accidents in the factories with exposed machinery. There were controversies on the topic of child labor, some believing it to be immoral, while others believing it to be necessary because of low wages families bring in. This issue brought upon new laws with hour limits and age limits.

4.2. 19th Century

4.2.1. Although factory work was tough, most moved from farms to urban areas just to go work in factories. Factory work to them was better work than farm work. But some factory owners didn't care about the well-being of their workers, because they were dispensable and didn't require much training. But some factory workers tried to improve factory life, such as allowing education for the child workers. Victorian factories were extremely hot. Workers had to breathe dust, oil and soot. The machines made loud noises such that people had to shout to be heard. Machines did things such as spinning. Flames and sparks lit up the sky and were darkened by smoke from factory chimneys.

4.2.2. The 19th century brought about the greatest prosperity in Britain. Its sources lay in colonial expansion, industrialization, improved transport and social reforms. The century also indicated how Britain went from being a net exporter of agricultural produce to being a net importer. The rapid growth of cities explained this but the spread of epidemics came along with it, such as Cholera. Industrial and urban centers grew in the Midlands and the North. The growing prosperity of England was due to her thriving industry, commerce and foreign trade. In fact, in the 1870s Britain produced one-half of the world’s iron.

5. History behind England in terms of trade and economy from a worker’s perspective

5.1. Even though most workers were employed in factories and other manufacturing jobs, still other occupations gained precedence during this era, particularly those that provided manufacturers were raw materials and distributed finished products. For example, from 1851 to 1871, the number of people employed in the trade, wholesale and retail sector grew by 1.3%. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, the amount of resources needed to keep the momentum going steadily increased. As a result, the mining industry expanded, and wages paid to workers were higher than those paid to factory workers.

5.2. Few people were skilled artisans who made things for the few yet wealthy members of the upper echelons of society. They made things such as jewelry and other artisanal goods. Others were doctors and lawyers however; the far larger group was the lower class. These people were the factory workers, the chimney cleaners, fruit sellers known as “costermongers” and finally the rat catchers. Between those groups were those occupations, which required some skill like coal miners and textile mill workers. Pretty much a summary: lawyers judges doctors engineers clergy at the top. Then came the artisans and merchants, the artisans whose services were enjoyed by the class above them. Then were those whose job required some sort of skill like miners and textiles. Then those who had jobs like rat catching or costermongers (punks who sold stolen fruit on the street). For the years thing the period from 1873 to 1896 was considered horrific. It is often referred to as the great depression even though it was not like the infamous Great Depression. However, it was a period of serious and steady decline. They were not fun times. It makes sense from a historical standpoint seeing as it came after such an industrial revolution yet people did not anticipate it.