History of Britain - Changing Lives


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11.Factories and Machines

An exploration of the factory system, introduced in the late 18th century, and its impact on our working lives. (7 mins)

12.Urban Slums
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1800 -1830 next video 12/17next

iconChapter Breakdown

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1. How did the Industrial Revolution impact ordinary people? A visit to Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire.
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2. Machines and factories transformed our lives, creating the modern culture of 'working life'.
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3. The factory system - a contract between workers and 'capitalist' factory owners.
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4. What was life like on the factory floor?
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5. Child labour - and how it was justified. The human cost of this 'glorious experiment'.

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iconLocation details


This module was all shot at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire, just south of Manchester.

It's one of the best preserved industrial mills in Britain, boasting a weaving shed, a mule shed, and a massive water wheel that was smelted in 1904 to replace the mill's original wheel.


Styal is chock full of interest. Make sure you visit the Apprentice House which housed the paupers that worked at the mill. There's no better place to get a real sense of the lives of industrial workers in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, before water-power was superseded by steam.


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