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History > Work, Life and Leisure > Work, Life and Leisure During Industrial Revolution
Work, Life and Leisure

Work, Life and Leisure During Industrial Revolution

When the industrial revolution occurred it changed the course of history. Societies started developing at a fast pace, and the world as we know it began to develop. Industrialization also had a huge hand to play in the process of urbanization. Let us take a look at the effects on two cities in particular – London and Mumbai.

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History of London

Even after a few decades of the industrial revolution, England was a mostly comprised of small villages and towns. There was no large metropolis. Some industrial towns were around, such as Manchester and Leeds, but these were mainly occupied by migrants. But then as the revolution progressed, London began to emerge as one of the largest cities of the western world.

During the First World War, London opened up many new factories, manufacturing everything from cars to machinery. The factories attracted a huge amount of migrant labourers and workers. At this point, nearly one-third of the cities workforce was directly employed by factories. The women who were forced into domestic service during the early years of the industrial revolution returned to factory jobs. To battle poverty, sometimes even children were forced to take up low paying, low skill jobs.

As the population increased, London was bursting at its seems. The poor labourers lived in shabby tenements houses and had a very low life expectancy. These poorly sanitized and ventilated houses were a health and fire hazard. The gentry simply wanted to do away with these slums, but that eas no solution. Ultimately many mass housing schemes came into place.

As the city expanded rapidly efforts were made to clean up London. The sanitation was a big concern, and so were some very rampant criminal aspects. It was London’s aim to get rid of all kinds of ugliness from its city.

Social Change in London

As the industrial revolution began, the social and family life in London went through a metamorphosis. Women and men both went to work, and the family unit became smaller over the years, And while working women worked in factories and as domestic help, women of higher societies became more and more isolated.

However, there was still rampant discrimination against woman, especially their access to public spaces and activities. The conservatives did not approve of the women’ s free movement about public spaces or equal rights among men and women.

Political Changes

As the numbers of the workforce increased so did their collective power. The laborers were tired of their poor living and working conditions and the apathy shown by those in power. Since the year 1886, these laborers and workers often went on strikes to demand relief from their crippling poverty.

One such riot occurred in the winter of 1887. Thousands of people went on strike, and the police suppressed these riots with a great deal of brutality. It came t be known as the Black Sunday of November 1887. Soon the authorities recognized the power of the mob and many policy changes were brought about to change the situation.

The History of Bombay

Work, Life, Leisure during Industrial Revolution:Study of London & Bombay

Bombay was one the Presidency Cities during the British occupation. All the major ports, institutes, financial centers, warehouses, universities etc were located here. It was considered to be the premier city in British India. This is the reason the city went into an overdrive of expansion and development between 1872 to 1941.

Bombay’s development could be chalked down to its location. It was one of the biggest ports of the time, and also the center of the cotton and textile industry of the country. Mills in Bombay attracted a lot of migrant labourers. And artisans, bankers, traders etc also found a home here.

With the population increase, Bombay became a crowded city, far more crowded than London. Housing this excess population was a severe headache for the authorities. And ever since its early days Bombay has always been an unplanned city. While members of the higher society lived in palatial bungalows and houses, 70% of the population lived in chawls, owned by private landlords. Even then there were people from lower castes and extreme poverty who could not even afford chawls. They lived in slums and temporary shelters.

One unique cultural significance of Bombay, since its early days is that it is the city of films. India’s film industry was born in Bombay and aptly named Bollywood. Around the 1920’s Bombay had become the film capital of India and continues to remain so almost a century later.

As you can see the industrial revolution had a huge impact on these two cities. But they are just examples of the changes it brought about. Truth is industrial revolution changed the way of life across the globe and had a huge impact on shaping modern civilization.

Solved Questions for You

Q: Who wrote ‘The Bitter Cry of Outcast London’?

  1. Andrew Mearns
  2. Henry Mayhew
  3. Gareth Jones
  4. None of the above

Ans: The correct option is “A”. Andrew Mearns, a clergyman wrote “The Bitter Outcry of London” in the 1880’s which showed how crime in London was more profitable than labouring in small underpaid factories.

Q: When was the rent control act passed in Bombay?

  1. 1918
  2. 1910
  3. 1920
  4. 1928

Ans: The correct option is “A”. The act was passed since private landlords were fleecing migrant workers by charging high rents for low-quality housing. The Act was not successful and ended up creating a housing crisis in Bombay. and ultimately the migrants suffered.

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