Working-class district (19th century)

Working-class district (19th century)

Typical working-class districts with unhealthy living conditions were built at the time of the Industrial Revolution.

History

Keywords

working-class district, industrial revolution, worker, England, big city, residential area, Dickens, Oliver Twist, building, city, poverty, block of flats, street view

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Questions

  • Is it true that the effects of the Industrial Revolution changed the behavior and attitude of people?
  • What kind of neighborhoods were built in the outskirts of industrial towns?
  • Which word characterizes best the living conditions in working class districts of industrial towns?
  • The struggle between which two social classes characterized the age of the Industrial Revolution?
  • What efforts were made to regulate child labor at the beginning of the 19th century?
  • Which word did not characterize a typical working-class house?
  • Which novel tells us a lot about the days of child laborers?

Scenes

Narration

The first phase of the Industrial Revolution in England began in the last decades of the 18th century. Large industrial cities soon started to appear throughout the country and new social classes were formed. One of these was the working class, settling mostly on the outskirts of the cities, near the enormous factories. Working class districts were thus formed.
In them, workers usually lived in rows of brick houses separated by narrow streets. The monotony and grayness of these was only broken by occasional grocery shops. Streets were often unpaved, with open canals serving (insufficiently) to convey rainwater and sewage. There was no tap water in homes, so families went to wells in the streets for their water.

Due to the highly polluted environment, houses were unhealthy and covered with soot. They usually consisted of several stories, but had limited space for the large families, who lived in the musty and moldy rooms. There were no separate kitchens, stoves were usually in the same room as the beds. On cold days, they used these iron stoves for heating as well. Rooms were poorly furnished, the furniture often only consisted of wooden beds, chairs, a table and a wardrobe. They were lit by paraffin lamps and candles. Of course there was no bathroom either in a typical flat, only bowls were provided for personal hygiene.

Lavatories were outside, behind the buildings, in the small backyards. The yard was also where women hung out clothes to dry, which were rarely clean even after washing. A realistic description of the difficult life of working class families during the Industrial revolution, and the unhealthy, dull environment was provided by Charles Dickens in his classic novel 'Oliver Twist.'

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