The Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century led to the growth of Manchester into the industrial center of England. Although Manchester held an abundance of manufacturing power, the effects of this growth were not all positive and many issues faced the people living in urban environments. Healthy lifestyles the social and economic liberties of the people were being sacrificed for the sake of industrial growth and though some recognized and worked to fix these problems, others ignored these issues for personal gain.
Though this time was prosperous for certain individuals, the majority of lower classes faced a number of problems. In a comparison between maps of Manchester in 1750 and 1850 made in document 1, we see that the size of the city grew exponentially during the industrial revolution. Robert Southey, and English Romantic poet, commented on the condition of the city after visiting Manchester in 1807, “A place more destitute than Manchester is not easy to conceive. In size and population it is the second city in the kingdom.
Imagine this multitude crowded together in narrow streets, the houses all built of brick and blackened with smoke” (Doc. 2). Southey continues by describing the monotonous work and “the everlasting din of machinery” being the control of the city. As an English Romantic poet, Robert Southey could have been slightly biased, but still fairly reliable, due to the fact that he wouldn’t have fabricated what he saw completely, but as a poet he could have exaggerated the details of the situation to reflect them more dramatically.
In Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population of Great Britain, public health reformer Edwin Chadwick concisely reports, “Diseases caused or aggravated by atmospheric impurities produced by decomposing animal and vegetable substances, by damp and filth, and close and overcrowded dwellings, prevail among the laboring classes” (Doc. 6). Here, the conditions of the city are directly described as being detrimental to the health of its citizens.
As well as being harmful to their physical health, Chadwick describes its effect on their mental health and social practices, “The exposed population is less susceptible to moral influences, and the effects of education are more temporary than with a healthy population. ” This reveals not only the physical issues facing the people, but the way they have been changed morally.
As a medical reformer, Edwin Chadwick is unbiased based on the fact that he would likely be truthfully reporting the facts of the situation, thus making his report reliable. Reflecting the statements of the sanitary issues and deteriorating health made by Chadwick, a table published by Thomas Wakley in his British medical journal, The Lancet, shows the average age at death for people in different professions and living conditions.
Based on the table, the age of death for citizens in any of the listed professions is lower if they reside in industrial districts. It also displays that people working as laborers or artisans, more common jobs in crowded, industrialized towns, died much earlier (The average death age for laborers in Manchester being 17, while the age for professional workers was 38). Lastly, the ages for citizens of Manchester, of any profession, were lower than those of all other cities, including the other industrialized district shown (Doc. ). This document displays the extreme conditions faced by common industrial workers, reflecting the dangers they faced in the briefness of their lifespan. As another medical reformer, Wakley was unlikely to have forged this information as it was for permanent record and education of the situation, therefore making this information unbiased. Despite the advancements in technology and industry during the time, common citizens were forced to live lives reminiscent of the squalor faced in medieval times.