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19th Century England

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19th Century England

During the 19th Century, England was transformed by the industrial revolution. It was also a period of social and political unrest. Levels of sanitation were improved, as was the quality of housing. During this period, living standards were raised and it was a relatively peaceful period. It was a period of prosperity and expansion for the British Empire, but it also saw the decline of England's power.

England was the first nation to industrialise. It had a dense population for its geographic size and an abundance of readily available, natural resources. Local supplies of coal, iron, lead, copper, tin, limestone and water power, resulted in excellent conditions for the development and expansion of industry. Also, the damp, mild weather conditions of the North West of England provided ideal conditions for the spinning of cotton, providing a natural starting point for the birth of the textiles industry.

The invention of the steam engine was the most important innovation of the Industrial Revolution. Apart from this innovation of the steam engine, the assembly line greatly improved efficiency. With a series of men trained to do a single task on a product, then having it moved along to the next worker, the number of finished goods also rose significantly.

The industrial revolution created many problems for 19th Century England. It caused a large demand for women and children to work in the factories, primarily in the textiles industry. This problem was partially resolved by banning children less than 9 years of age from working in the factories, but there was still the problem of young children working long hours in factories, most of which had bad working conditions. This is not the reason we credit the Industrial Revolution as prosperous, as there were a number of more positive effects.

Due to the industrial revolution people were better fed, as more products became readily available. Meat from Australia and New Zealand and cheap wheat from Northern America helped to give the English a better diet. New inventions were making life more comfortable and convenient. And the railways made travelling much quicker. Things we today, take for granted, such as street lighting



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