• Examine the growth of industry in England, and particularly London, during the Victorian era. What were some of the benefits, and what were some of the drawbacks? What effect did industry have on London life?

There were many changes in technology and science during the Victorian Era.
It became possible to have a formal education in science, and science began to hold more interest internationally. For the first time, being a “scientist” was a real and respected profession. vicscience.jpg

New technology that developed during the Victorian Era had a huge impact on the population, much of it allowing more people to take part in leisure time activities. There was a shift to coal and steam as sources of power. The steam press made it easier and cheaper to print books; many more were printed and therefore many more people could afford to buy and read them. Another leisure time invention was the bicycle. Bicycles were cheap and easy transport; they made it simpler for people to go out. A positive effect of bicycle was the encouragement it gave to cities to build better roads and fix the old ones. The end of the nineteenth century also saw an increase in commercialism and mass production.

In or about the 1890's finding jobs became a struggle in and around the city of London due to many different reasons. Many immigrants were coming into Great Britain from Ireland due to the potato shortage in their own country. They then began searching for jobs that citizens of London couldn't even find. On top of the immigration, a boost in population was present which made it even harder. In order to survive in the economy men and women were accepting jobs with very low wages just to survive. Many of these men and women were over-qualified for the jobs but it was the only ones that they could find. Even children of very young ages were being put to work to help survive in the struggling economy. They were forced into working long hours at jobs that were hazardous to there health and dangerous for their ages. Young boys were often seen cleaning chimneys or climbing around in coal mines for little to no money. They did everything they could just to help there struggling families.

As the industrial revolution intensified, the city became more available to the whole population of Great Britain. The railways allowed people to travel to the city more easily and were a main reason the population of London increased. By 1900 the population had increased by 80%. The higher population required more housing for the large about of new inhabitants. The city was organized into different zones coordinating with social class. The poor people lived in the inner city while the upper-class lived in the outer city. The poor neighborhoods became crowded and adequate housing was unavailable. Slums developed in the overcrowded city as housing conditions declined. Because of the unsanitary conditions, disease spread and life expectancy went from 35 in 1920 to 29 in the 1930s. Children also suffered from the conditions and were forced to work begging or as a chimney sweeper.
external image LondonLate1800s.JPGexternal image cov_slums_children.jpg

With the much advancement in technology, the increased modes of transportation were highly valued products of these ideas. The most popular means of traversing the country was the newly built British railway system.
Victorian Era Triain
They made it possible for people to travel from one place to another, but more importantly it improved communication and extended the reaches of British industries. The progress of the locomotive itself was greatly due to the invention of the
steam engine, which provided the most possible power, and the use of two driving wheels to compensate for the lack of friction on the tracks. The very first railway was built in 1836 from London Bridge to Greenwich followed by many other railway systems including the first underground railroad in 1863. Although the railways were a welcomed form of transportation, they further segregated
the wealthier city dwellers from the poorer families who remained in the countryside. If you were poor, you might move to the city to work on the railway, but otherwise the ticket fee to travel by train was something only the wealthy could afford.

In addition to the railways, the steam engine became another form of transportation in the Victorian Era.
London Sea Port
Although it had been invented long before this time,
steam ships became more popular because of the prospect of increased international trade. By 1838, a person could travel form Bristol to New York in only 14 days, and major trading routes connected Britain to South Africa, India, and Australia. London quickly became the largest sea port in the world. Both the steam ship and railway system helped to turn Britain into the international trading center of the world. By increasing the amount of cargo that could be transported and reducing travel time Britain’s economy started to improve. In contrast to the apparent economic success, the working class was still suffering in poverty due to the lack of jobs due to the increased use of machines and the low wages they received during this industrial revolution.