A handful of 19th century Uk writers were in a position to see at first-hand what everyday living and working conditions were like during the Industrial Revolution, of massive significance were the increases in both the amount of manufacturing establishments and of the people prepared to labour in them. As a result the proprietors made great profits by preserving overheads, for instance wages, small. This produced a great divide in between the wealth of the factory bosses and the poverty of the workers.

Mill communities were generally dirty smelly regions inhabited by countless numbers of individuals, substantial numbers of whom are likely to have been working at the factories. Most would have travelled into the built up areas from the country side to try and find work, as mechanisation of agriculture resulted in joblessness for them there. The housing remained as a general rule unhealthy and overcrowded with open drains in the roads leading to disease or maybe loss of life. People who had fallen on hard times had no state system to turn to and before long became destitute. As a last option they could go into the poorhouses. Circumstances would have to be extremely hopeless to make them do this because the work routine and separation made day-to-day living very exhausting, but at least meals were given and there were health professionals on the premises.

Lower class families tended to have large numbers of kids and whilst this meant they had more people to sustain, it likewise meant that those who survived were put to work becoming extra wage earners. Once at work conditions were very grim; the weaving sheds dominated towns and the proprietors were able to treat workers however they wanted, as there was generally a constant rush of people keen to take on work. Relations between employees and the mill owners were generally very poor. Owners regarded the workers simply as “hands” to work looms for their benefit; they thought the men and women must be entirely under their regulations in or out of the factories. There was much prejudice against people that were ignorant and working class.

On the job individuals could be given brutal punishments or have their wages docked for the most minor misdemeanours. Most couldn’t afford clocks plus they were not permitted to have watches, which made being on time difficult, but were penalised if they were late. They toiled for very many hours, often in hot dusty situations, this resulted in illness, often lung-related.

On the other hand the middle-classes of the period could count on respectable accommodation with staff to aid run them. On account of the significant earnings they earned they wouldn't have needed to be anxious about meals, clothes and heating. Their children would be well fed and cared for and would be used to a very much higher lifestyle than their working class equivalents.

Amongst the writers writing during this period were Charles Dickens (1812-1870) and Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865). They both equally drew on real life for their ideas and in their own lives they were quite renowned if not controversial novelists. Gaskell wrote Mary Barton in 1848 and North and South in 1855 whilst Dickens wrote Hard Times in 1854. All the above observations may be observed inside the pages of these and other literature. Owing to their books and the publications they were associated with, both Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell can be credited with helping to convey the condition of the poor masses to the focus of the individuals with influence, especially the govt. This also went a long way in adding to the social reforms of the period.

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Author's Bio: 

Bruno Blackstone is a freelance writer interested in all things to do with the outdoors and helping others get the most from the outdoors. Starting with a psychology degree his early career was as a social worker and family therapist working with families to help them achieve more positive and stable relationships. In his more recent career he has coached many senior executives in both small and large organisations in areas such as strategy, human resources, organisational design and performance improvement. He now continues his work in the business world but he is also co-owner of http://www.myoutdoorstore.co.uk a price comparison site for outdoor enthusiasts.