The Living Conditions Imposed Upon the Public in the Industrial Revolution

Essay by darkermellyJunior High, 9th gradeA+, May 2004

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As people flocked to the cities for work at the boom of the industrial revolution, the need to for house grew fast; too fast. Whilst there were some men, like Robert Owen, who worked hard to build good houses even thought it took more time, most would not. These builders ruthlessly exploited the people in need of homes by erecting poor, and often unsanitary, shoddily built houses. Industrial workers often paid unreasonably high rents for, what was at best, sub-standard housing. In the rush to build, many housing complexes were constructed too quickly. Built up in terraces, Some of these houses had only a patch of ground behind the complex where a toilet was placed. Others were back to back with communal toilets. Almost as soon as people moved in, many of these complexes became slums. Most of the people lived in overcrowded and inadequate housing, and some of these people even lived in cellars.

It has been recorded that, in one instance, 17 people from different families lived in an area of 5 meters by 4 meters.

Sanitation was often non-existent, and many toilets were 'earth closet' toilets. They were found outside the complex, as far away as physically possible because of the smell. And they were usually emptied by 'soil men' at night. These men took the solid human waste away, which reminds me of the 'poopsmith' character from This must've been one of the worst jobs of the day, which is saying something based on that day's working conditions. In the poorer districts, the solid waste was just heaped in a large pile close to the houses. Then the liquid from the toilets and the waste heaps seeped down into the earth and contaminated their water supply. These bodily liquids carried disease-causing germs into the...