Living in the Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution, living conditions in Great Britain were terrible for the poor. Families were often crammed together in a single room. Diseases spread rapidly because there wasn't much space to move around and get away from the sick people. Husbands and wives were often separated and treated as if they were in a prison to prevent them from relying off of government aid. Middle class families still had good lives and were still able to work and tend to their everyday lives almost normally.


London, 1802

All around me, there is a sea of bodies, dead or alive - we can never be sure - laying on the dirty cellar floor which we call our home. A few rats scurry around, and where the floor dips downward there is a stream of mostly sewage. The stench is unbearable, but this is the only place we can live. Tommy and I hurry up the dark and dank stairs of the cellar to the first floor of this dismal place, where a dozen other people live. There are still three other stories above us, and the very foundations of the building creak. We grab a little bread that looks untouched by the mold and hurry out the door to the water pump.

Outside, the air is thick with smoke and stench and the sun still hasn’t risen yet. There are streams of sewage and waste on the sides of the road. Everything is muddy, and there are drunks stumbling around and lying facedown in the mud. Corpses that are days old litter the streets, as maggots and fat, juicy flies feast on their bodies. A sea of faces, dull and lifeless, stalk like zombies fresh from the grave all around me. This is how it always is.

The water we drink is brown and festering with disease, but we drink it anyway. Then we hurry to the factory. They will beat us if we are late.

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