Social Effects of
Workersâ€™ houses usually were near
the factories so people could walk to
work. Hastily and cheaply constructed,
most had two to four rooms--one or two
downstairs and one or two upstairs.
They had no running water or toilets for
families with four to five children. The
entire street would share an outside
pump and a couple of outside toilets.
Only gradually were laws passed to
clean up the streets, put in proper sewers
and drains, set standards for house
construction, and pave and light streets.
But often when slums were knocked
down, the poor were forced to move to
another one, making it worse.
The technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution
brought great changes in family and social life. Cities filled to
overflowing. By the start of the 19th century, some one-fifth of
Britainâ€™s population lived in London, but by 1851 half the
population lived there, with whole families or even several
families crowded into a single room.
While industrialization led to greater prosperity and improved
health for those in the upper and middle classes, the poor
became poorer and their health risks, greater. Household
rubbish was thrown out into the streets of the dirty and
unhealthy towns, creating a perfect breeding ground for
diseases like cholera, typhus, smallpox and dysentery.
Industrialization brought increased pollution as smoke from
chimneys and factories filled the air and settled to the streets
like a dirty blanket. The steam to power the machines was
made by burning coal, which produced a heavy, black smoke..
Many of the factory workers were
children, who worked long hours at
hazardous jobs. Some started work as
young as four or five. Thousands
worked in coal mines, and thousands
more in cotton mills.