Work, Life And Leisure of Class 10

(i) When people began pouring in London after the Industrial Revolution Individual landowners put up cheap, and usually unsafe, tenements for the new arrivals.

(ii) Poverty was concentrated and starkly visible in the city. In 1887, Charles Booth a Liverpool Shipowner found that as many as 1 million Londoners were very poor and were expected to live only up to an average age of 29. They were more likely to die in a `workhouse, hospital or lunatic asylum, London, he concluded 'needed the rebuilding of at least 400, 000 rooms to house its poorest citizens.

(iii) A large number of people recognize the need for housing for the poor as the vast masses of one room houses occupied by the poor were seen as a threat to public health, they were overcrowded, badly ventilated, and lacked sanitation, there were worries about fire hazards created by poor housing, there was a widespread fear of social disorder, especially after the Russian Revolution in 1917.


The vast mass of one-room houses, occupied by the poor, were seen as a serious threat to public health: they were overcrowded, badly ventilated, and lacked sanitation. Apart from this there were worries about fire hazards created by poor housing. Additionally there was a widespread fear of social disorder, especially after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Workers’ mass housing schemes were planned to prevent the London poor from turning rebellious.


A variety of steps were taken to clean up London. 

  • Attempts were made to decongest localities, green the open spaces, reduce pollution and landscape the city.
  • Large blocks of apartments were built, similar to those in Berlin and New York – cities which had similar housing problems.
  • Rent control was introduced in Britain during the First World War to ease the impact of a severe housing shortage.
  • Many wealthy residents of London were able to afford a holiday home in the countryside.
  • Demands were made for new ‘lungs’ for the city, and some attempts were made to bridge the difference between city and countryside through such ideas as the Green Belt around London.
  • Architect and planner Ebenezer Howard developed the principle of the Garden City, a pleasant space full of plants and trees, where people would both live and work.
  • Raymond unwin and Barry Packer designed the garden city of New earswick.
  • There were common garden spaces, beautiful views, and great attention to detail. In the end, only well-of workers could afford these houses.
  • Between the two World Wars (1919-39) the responsibility for housing the working classes was accepted by the British state, and a million house, most of them single family cottages, were built by local authorities.


  • Due to the expansion of cities and the development of sub verbs made new dorms of mass transport because necessary.
  • The London underground railway partially solved the housing crisis by carrying large masses of people to and from the city.
  • The very first section of the underground in the world opened on 10 January 1863 between Paddington and Farrington street London.
  • By 1880 the expanded train service was carrying 40 million passengers a year. At first people were afraid to travel underground.


(i) People used to smoke cigarettes and pipes in the compartment

(ii) Coal dust, sulphur dioxide due to the burning coal in engines also caused suffocation and respiratory diseases.

(iii) Foul fumes from the gas lamps in the compartment also caused problem to travellers.

(iv) For laying Railway tracks houses war knocked down, pits and trenches were dug which also caused problems.

  • Yet the Underground eventually became a huge success. By the twentieth century, most large metropolises such as New York, Tokyo and Chicago could not do without their well-functioning transit system.
  • As a result, the population in the city became more dispersed. Better planned suburbs and a good railway network enabled large numbers of live outside central London and travel to work.


In the eighteenth century, the family had been a unit of production and consumption as well as of political decision-making. The function and the shape of the family were completely transformed by life in the industrial city.

Ties between members of households loosened, and among the working class the institution of marriage tended to break down. Women of the upper and middle classes in Britain, on the other hand, faced increasingly higher levels of isolation, although their lives were made easier by domestic maids who cooked, cleaned and cared for young children on low wages.

Women who worked for wages had some control over their lives, particularly among the lower social classes. However, many social reformers felt that the family as an institution had broken down, and needed to be saved or reconstructed by pushing these women back into the home.


(i) The city encouraged a new spirit of individualism. Men and women did not have equal access to this new urban space. Women were forced to withdraw into their homes. The public space became increasingly a male preserve. Most political movements of the nineteenth century, such as Chartism (a movement demanding the vote for all adult males) and the 10- hour movement (limiting hours of work in factories) mobilized large numbers of men.

(ii) By the twentieth century, the urban family had been transformed yet again, by women, who were employed in large numbers to meet war demands. The family now consisted of much smaller units.

(iii) The family became the heart of a new market - of goods and services, and of ideas.

Apart from the London dockyards, five major types of industries employed large numbers: clothing and footwear, wood and furniture, metals and engineering, printing and stationery, and precision products such as surgical instruments, watches, and objects of precious metal. During the First World War (1914-18) London began manufacturing motor cars and electrical goods, and the number of large factories increased until they accounted for nearly one-third of all jobs in the city.


  • As London grew, crime flourished, it is said that 20,000 criminals were living in London in the 1870s. We know a great deal about criminal activities in this period, for crime became an object of widespread concern. The police were worried about law and order and industrialists wanted a hard-working and orderly labour force.
  • In the mid-nineteenth century, Henry Mayhew wrote several volumes on the London labour, and compiled long lists of those who made a living from crime.
  • Many of whom he listed as ‘criminals’ were in fact poor people who lived by stealing lead from roofs, food from shops lump of coal, and clothes drying on hedges.
  • There were the cheats and tricksters, pickpockets and petty thieves crowding the streets of London. In an attempt to discipline the population, the authorities imposed high penalties for crime and offered work to those who were considered the ‘deserving poor’


Factories employed large numbers of women in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. With technological developments, women gradually lost their industrial jobs, and were forced to work within households. The 1861 census recorded a quarter of a million domestic servants in London, of whom the vast majority were women, many of them recent migrants. A large number of women used their homes to increase family income by taking in lodgers or through such activities as tailoring, washing or matchbox making. However, there was a change once again in the twentieth century. As women got employment in wartime industries and offices, they withdrew from domestic service.

Apart from them large number of children were pushed into low-paid work, often by their parents. It was only after the passage of the Compulsory Elementary Education Act in 1870, and the factory acts beginning from 1902, that children were kept out of industrial work.


  • Large numbers of children were pushed into low-paid work, often by their parents.
  • Andrew, Mearns, a clergyman who writes the bitter Cry of Outcast London in 1880s, showed why crime was more profitable than labouring in small underpaid factories. ‘A child seven years old is easily known to make 10 shillings 6 pence a week from thieving. Before he can gain as much as the young thief [a boy] must make 56 gross of matchboxes a week or 1296 a day.
  • It was only after the passage of the compulsory elementary education act in 1870, and the factory acts beginning from 1902, that children were kept out of industrial work.
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