Industrialization led to a great internal migration within England , as well as in the other nations it reached. This was determined by both "push" and "pull" factors. The widespread enclosure of English farms, begun in the 18th century, replaced the previous system of several family groups working an open, communal land space with private ownership and operation of fenced-off farms. Combined with new developments in agricultural technology, this increased the efficiency of farm production, but also decreased the amount of available land and the number of agricultural jobs. The displaced peasants and their families had little choice but to move to the cities to seek work.
People were also pulled to cities by the promise of work in the new factories. The various centers of industry experienced theretofore unprecedented growth at the time. The population of Manchester , one of the initial areas to experience heavy growth because it was a stronghold of the textile industry, increased sixfold between 1771 and 1831. Since the industry depended on the import of cotton from colonies in India and North America , the nearby port city of Liverpool also experienced an increase in population and prosperity, even as its previous source of income, the slave trade, was made illegal.
There, the twenty years between 1815 and 1835 saw the building of 8 new docks, and the in decade following, the population of the city rose about 60%. Another rapidly expanding city was Birmingham . Though in 1801 its population was only 86,000, it multiplied more than twice before 1851, thanks to its diversified industries and the availability of the Birmingham & London railway to transport the goods produced there.
At mid-century, the rate of migration to cities was still strong; in 1851 about 50% of the inhabitants of Bradford had not been born there. In total, England 's population increased about 60% from 9.3 million in 1801 to 15.9 million in 1841. Before the industrial revolution took place, it had hovered around 6 million. According to Arnold Toynbee, in his Lectures on the Industrial Revolution , "Before 1751 the largest decennial increase, so far as we can calculate from our imperfect materials, was 3 per cent. For each of the next three decennial periods the increase was 6 percent; then between 1781 and 1791 it was 9 per cent; between 1791 and 1801, 11 per cent; between 1801 and 1811, 14 per cent; between 1811 and 1821, 18 per cent."
The population explosion that was concentrated in the cities was also due to increased farm output, which made it possible to support more people.
Still, as factories and the cities that housed them continued to expand, most of their inhabitants bore the burdens of sudden, unhampered growth. While the upper and middle class made large collective profits from the expansion of industry, those whose labor perpetuated the system found themselves in less favorable circumstances.
In most instances, government action was not in keeping with the rapid changes of the times. Competition among firms for greater market share and profits and lower costs was almost completely unregulated by the government. While this econopolitical climate had allowed the industrial revolution to begin in England , it was now causing it to spiral out of control. These problems went almost unmitigated until reform movements began to gain momentum in the early-to-mid 19th century.
In order to reduce operating costs, factories often hired children to work in factories at lower wages. To families arriving from farms, where children started work at an early age, this did not seem as outlandish as it does today. Also, most lower-class families needed the money their children would earn, and would not have been able to afford educating them instead. However, child labor was eventually reduced with legislation such as the Factory act of 1802, which limited children's workdays to twelve hours a day, and later the Factory Act of 1833, the Ten Hour act of 1847, and the Mines Act of 1842, which prevented women and young boys from legally working in mines. The latter two acts were endorsed by the Lord Shaftesbury, who also encouraged reform in housing and sanitation.
This was another problem of the rapid growth of industrial cities: the influx of workers had to be accomodated by relatively cheap housing near the production facilities. Houses were therefore cramped and close together. The few building regulations that existed at the time were often ignored, so that cheap materials were used and key elements such as waterproofing, insulation, and plumbing were left out. Residents pumped water to take baths in the home, and household refuse of all types was dumped into courtyards, to be removed by "night-men". These workers also removed waste from communal toilets, which were not connected with drainage pipes, which were only built in the wealthier residential areas of cities. When landlords did not pay for this service, sewage often overflowed into the courtyards. The worst conditions were in cellar-level residences, which were the cheapest but also damp for lack of insulation. Water was often contaminated by this refuse, in rivers as well as in communal pumps. All of these problems were multiplied by the large numbers of people squeezed into these cramped quarters. Obviously, sanitation was not a priority, nor could it be for laborers who did not have the money or the energy to attempt to achieve better circumstances in addition to working to support their families. Because there was no minimum wage, this layer of the city's society often subsisted on minimal means and could not afford to move elsewhere.
Also, some employers, especially in cities where most activity centered around one industry, built homes for their employees and mandated that they use them, with the profit from the rent going to the factory owners. However, some factory owners attempted to create better conditions for their workers, such as Robert Owen and Richard Arkwright. Also, water companies supplied fresh water to residents in parts of Glasgow and Nottingham. However, these were exceptions - usually, factories and landlords tried to gain as much profit as possible by any means. City officials cooperated with business owners and builders rather than enforcing housing standards.
These unsanitary, crowded housing conditions led naturally to the spread of disease.
Though a smallpox vaccine was invented in 1789 by Edward Jenner, many city residents were not aware of or could not afford it, so smallpox made a recurrence during this period. Cholera was especially rampant, since it was transmitted mostly through water contamination. After the disease came to England from India , major outbreaks occurred in London in 1831, 1848-49, 1854, and 1867, killing almost half of those who contracted it, a total of about 15,000 people, in 1849. After this epidemic, John Snow analysed maps of the outbreak to determine which regions of the city were being affected, and correctly identified the water pump that was the source of "poisoned" water. Later, his hypothesis that contamination, and not odors or miasmata, cause cholera was confirmed after Louis Pasteur discovered microbes.
Tuberculosis was also dangerous, since it developed in malnourished people and spread easily from peron to person. About 30% of deaths in England during the first half of the 19th century are attributed to this illness. As the concept of bacterial disease became more widely accepted, more efforts were made to counteract illness and improve circumstances for workers.
As factories competed against an increasingly global market as well as amongst themselves, conditions led to a movements for reform. In 1838, the Chartist political party was formed, partially because of an economic downturn and loss of jobs; this is often considered England 's first working-class movement. It was based on the People's Charter, which demands male suffrage, paid MP positions without property reguirements, equally sized governmental districts, secret ballots, and annual parliamentary sessions.
The Anti-Corn Law League stood for middle-class entrepreneurs to protest the Corn Laws, which placed tariffs on imported corn in order to be able to keep domestic prices high, to the benfit of wealthy landowners. Eventually, due to the Irish potato famine, their demands were met and bread could be produced more cheaply.
Gradually, through awareness, reform efforts and legislation, the effects of industy began to be checked and conditions for city dwellers slowly improved.
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