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Living conditions during the Industrial Revolution

In 1800, London was the most populated city in the world with about 850,000 inhabitants.

Hi, my name is Billy, Bill for friends, and it's my first time out of the countryside. It's sad but my parents just lost their jobs, and now I need to supply for the whole family. That's why I came to London hoping to find a job here.

Today I will take you alongside to discover the living conditions during the Industrial Revolution. The first thing I need to do is to find a house. After, I could start searching for a job and maybe a school. On the way, I will meet different people who will teach me that life is not as easy as I thought...

First things first, I need to find a place to live

This place looks nice. Let me go and look inside...

You don't belong here, your place is in the ghetto!

The ghetto...

Describe these pictures in 3 words







Oh no. It's false.

Congratulations, this is true.

Oh no. It's false.

Congratulations, this is true.

Congratulations, this is true.

Oh no. It's false.

Finally I ended up living with this family of ten children but I should be thankful because I could have ended up on the street...

Now that I have a place to live in, I need to start thinking about my education and finding a work

But i don't know anything here...

I know! I am going to ask my new sister Patience for some advices

Read the following text and answer the questions

Patience Kershaw, aged 17:
My father has been dead about a year; my mother is living and has ten children, five boys and five girls; the oldest is about thirty, the youngest is four; three girls go to mill; all the boys are colliers, mother does nothing but look after home.
I never went to day-school; I go to Sunday-school, but I cannot read or write; I go to pit at five o'clock in the morning and come out at five in the evening; I get my breakfast of porridge and milk first; I take my dinner with me, a cake, and eat it as I go; I do not stop or rest any time for the purpose; I get nothing else until I get home, and then have potatoes and meat, not every day meat. I hurry in the clothes I have now got on, trousers and ragged jacket. Sometimes the getters beat me, if I am not quick enough, with their hands; they strike me upon my back; the boys take liberties with me sometimes they pull me about; I am the only girl in the pit; there are about 20 boys and 15 men; all the men work naked; I would rather work in mill than in coal-pit.


the mill: le moulin

a collier = a coal miner

the (coal) pit: la fosse/mine (de charbon)

ragged: en haillons

to strike: foutter

Does Patience goes to day-school?

Yes she does.

No she doesn't.

It's false, try again.

It's true!

She says she goes to Sunday School but she cannot read or write, like most of the people at this time. In fact, during the Industrial Revolution, children worked as many hours as adults, so they couldn't go to school and have an education.

Before the 1800s, school were not mixed and reserved to children of bourgeois families.

Click here to learn more about education during the 1800s

1833: Factory Act, making two hours of education a day compulsory for children working in factories

1844: Creation of the Ragged Schools Union to give schooling to poor children

1880: Education Act, making school attendance compulsory for children up to the age of 10

Key dates about education during the Industrial Revolution

A ragged school

How many hours does Patience works in a day ?

8 10 12 16

Back to the text

Back to the text

Yes, it is true. Working conditions were very difficult. Sometimes they did not have any break for lunch. Working in factories was also very dangerous because there were a lot of accidents.

At the time, there was a lack of hygiene, sanitary precautions, and no knowledge about diseases. According to you, what were the main reasons why diseases spread easily?

Water that they drank was dirty and gave cholera

They didn't had money to buy masks

The city was very polluted

Rooms were crowded (around 5 to 9 people per room)

For more information, watch this video

Oh no. It's false.

Congratulations, this is true.

Congratulations, this is true.

Congratulations, this is true.

Bill and Patience had very bad living conditions, like many other workers at the Industrial Revolution time. This revolution was marked by the development of a new social class: proletariat.
For them, in industrial cities like London or Liverpool, conditions of living were very hard. Housings were dirty, noisy, had no running water or electricity, and cities were very polluted. In addition, they had to work around 12 hours/day in dangerous conditions and for low wages. All these factors made people more susceptible to diseases and accidents.
In addition, they rarely could go to school because of work, so people were not educated, and couldn't read or write.