Living Conditions in the Industrial Revolution in Europe 1800's
For skilled workers, quality of life took a sharp downturn: “A quarter [neighborhood] once remarkable for its neatness and order; I remembered their whitewashed houses, and their little flower gardens, and the decent appearance they made with their families at markets, or at public worship. These houses were now a mass of filth and misery“. During the first 60 years of the Industrial Revolution, living conditions were, by far, worst for the poorest of the poor. In desperation, many turned to the“poorhouses” set up by the government. The Poor Law of 1834 created workhouses for the destitute. Poorhouses were designed to be deliberately harsh places to discourage people from staying on “relief” (government food aid).
Primary Source Description of River Thames in London(1855)
The smell was very bad, and common to the whole of the water; it was the same as that which now comes up from the gully-holes in the streets; the whole river was for the time a real sewer. Having just returned from out of the country air, I was, perhaps, more affected by it than others; but I do not think I could have gone on to Lambeth or Chelsea, and I was glad to enter the streets for an atmosphere which, except near the sink-holes, I found much sweeter than that on the river.