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9HI Industrial Revolution - Great Britain: Reforms
Robert Owen (1771-1858)
Robert Owen was a man ahead of his time. During his lifetime, he endeavoured to improve the health, education, well-being and rights of the working class.
Lord Ashley (1801 – 1885) also known as Lord Shaftesbury following the death of his father, was an English politician, philanthropist and social reformer who was involved in reforming mental health facilities, child labour in mines and factories.
'The Industrial Revolution' examines the impact the great industrial transformation of 18th-century Britain had on both the domestic and international scenes. It asks what the Industrial Revolution really was, and who benefitted from it.
The movement known as the Industrial Revolution started in Britain in the 18th Century. By 1850, industrialization was taking root in parts of Western Europe and the USA, and by the end of the 19th Century, it had spread to Russia and Japan. It created the modern, industrial world in which we live today. The book charts the development of power-driven machinery, improvements in transport and the growth of towns. It also looks at the effects, both good and bad on how people lived and worked.
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Testimony of Isabel Wilson, aged 38, before the 1842 Mines Commission:
"I have been married 19 years and have had 10 [children]; seven are[alive]. When [I worked in the mines] I was a carrier of coals, which caused me to miscarry five times from the strains, and was [very] ill after each..."
This website describes the movement to abolish child labour in the UK during Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Topics include life in the factory, reformers, supporters of child labour, factory workers, tactics, issues, Factory Acts and statistics.
In 1835, Robert Owen formed the Association of All Classes and All Nations (later renamed the Rational Society). Over the next five years it started over 60 branches of self-styled "socialists" concentrated in the manufacturing districts, with perhaps 50,000 flocking to weekly lectures.
"My religious views are not very popular but they are the views that have sustained and comforted me all though my life. I think a man's religion, if it is worth anything, should enter into every sphere of life, and rule his conduct in every relation. I have always been - and, please God, always shall be, an Evangelical."
The campaign against child labour culminated in two important pieces of legislation – the Factory Act (1833) and the Mines Act (1842). The Factory Act prohibited the employment of children younger than nine years of age and limited the hours that children between nine and 13 could work. The Mines Act raised the starting age of colliery workers to 10 years.
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Sir Tony Robinson heads to the Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, United Kingdom to explore the true story of the factory workers whose blood, sweat and toil started the Industrial Revolution. He learns how they rose up to start a social change that would ultimately lay the foundations for the country we know today. In this episode, Tony takes a deeper look into Quarry Bank Mill to discover what conditions the men, women and children all had to deal with when they worked there.
In a short film for STV, People's Historian Daniel Gray tells the story of utopian socialist Robert Owen. Daniel visits New Lanark, where Owen's principles were put into practice with great success.