Second Year: From Farm to Factory: Industrial England

An English city during the Industrial Revolution.
When you began Second Year History, Europe was still in the Renaissance, exploring the world around them and questioning those in power. As time went on, you looked at the conquest of Ireland by England, and the revolutions that broke out in America and France, as well as the failed uprising against England in Ireland.

Now, you move on to the next era in history. It's also called a revolution, but this wasn't a revolution like the ones you've learned about already. This was the Industrial Revolution, the time when people started to come up with new ideas for inventions and machines. It is considered to be the beginning of the modern era.

In the Junior Cert course, the Industrial Revolution section is called "From Farm to Factory". Farms were a huge part of life in Europe ever since the Neolithic era. The changes that were going to happen would move the Europe away from the way of life that had lasted since the Middle Ages and Renaissance and towards a new way of life - helped by the political revolutions, of course.

The second part of this section, Rural Ireland, is here.

Go back to Second Year

No. 36, the original Cork-Dublin steam engine,
on display in Kent Station, Cork.
Ordinary Level students should focus on the Special Topic, which is in *asterisks*.

  • The causes of the Industrial Revolution. (population, new inventions, etc.)
  • The Agricultural Revolution.
  • The Transport Revolution.
  • Manufacturing inventions.
  • *Working conditions in factories and mines. (People in History)*
  • Living conditions: the rich and the poor
  • *Contrasting industrial England with rural Ireland. (People in History)*

Click here for advice and tips on answering exam questions.


1. In Britain during the Agricultural Revolution, what is meant by the term enclosure? (2012 HL)

2. Give two consequences of enclosure during the Agricultural Revolution. (2015 HL)

3. In Britain, during the Industrial Revolution, what were the Factory Acts? (2015 HL)

4. Name two important inventions during the Industrial Revolution (2012 HL)

5. Give one reason why the Industrial Revolution began in Britain. (2015 OL, 2010 HL)

6. What contribution was made to the Industrial Revolution by one of the following:
           James Hargreaves;       George Stephenson;       John MacAdam

7. Why was steam power so important to the success of Britain during the Industrial Revolution?
    (2011 OL)

8. Name one invention or development of the Industrial or Agricultural Revolution and the person
    responsible for it. (2009 OL)

9. Choose one of the following terms from the Agricultural Revolution and explain your chosen term:
               Seed Drill                          Crop Rotation                         Selective Breeding       (2015 OL)

10. Give one reason why life in British cities was unpleasant around the year 1850. (2015 OL)


Q.5C, 2011 HL

(i)  The Famine caused population decline in Ireland. Why did the population of Great Britain increase
     during the nineteenth century? (2)

(ii) Write an account of the impact of the Industrial Revolution on people's lives in Britain under one
      of the following headings: (12)
              (a)   Housing and diet.
              (b)   Health and leisure.
              (c)   Education.


Q.6A, 2008 HL

(i)   Mention two advantages of the new Land Enclosure during the Agricultural Revolution. (4)

(ii)  New developments and inventions: Match each item in Column A with its corresponding
      (matching) item in Column B. (1x6)

(iii)  Write an account of two of the following:   (10x2)
              (a)   Reasons why the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.
              (b)   Living conditions for workers in industrial towns.
              (c)   Improvements in transport during the Industrial Revolution.


"From Farm to Factory" has more People in History possibilites than any section you've learned about so far. It's not as much as it seems though. The farm labourer question just needs you to know the Agricultural Revolution, which is one of the first things you learn about in this section.

The factory/mine worker is the most common question, as you can see from the number of times it's appeared in recent exams. For that question, you pick either mines or factories.

The factory/mine owner is similar, you're talking about the same thing, just from the point of view of the owner.

The worker in an English city was an unusual question which appeared in the 2010 Ordinary Level paper, but all you need to do is write down what you know about working and living conditions in English towns.

For more information, click on the links:

A farm labourer during the Agricultural Revolution (2010 HL, 2006 HL)

A factory/mine worker during the Industrial Revolution
(2009 HL, 2007 HL, 2012 OL, 2011 OL, 2008 OL)

A factory/mine owner during the Industrial Revolution (2014 HL, 2012 HL)

A worker in an English city in 1850 (2010 OL)

The 1905/6 Manchester United team.
The Industrial Revolution gives a good overview of the Industrial Revolution here.

How Steam Engines Work
If you do Technology in school, you might be interested to learn how the steam engine worked, and even what made the "choo-choo" sound.

Inventions of the Industrial Revolution
Here is a list of the many important inventions made during the Industrial Revolution, from the steam engine to dynamite to contact lenses! Find out how many things you use every day came from the Industrial Revolution. (works better when you click Text view)

BBC History: Children in Factories
Learn about the terrible conditions children and teenagers had to work in, and the measures that were taken to improve things. 

Royal Commission Mines Report: First-Hand Accounts
Read first-hand accounts from workers in 19th century mines here. Accounts are sorted by area, and are in PDF files. Scroll past the first few pages of the PDF file to read them.

The Conclusions of the Mines Report
Read the Mines Report conclusions here.

Robert Owen
A site dedicated to Robert Owen. Watch out for bias!

History of Football
Football turned professional during the Industrial Revolution. Learn about its history here. If you follow a soccer team, check their website, they might have a bit about their own history from this time.

Chadwick's Report on Sanitary Conditions
This report led to the setting up of the Boards of Health. It might be difficult to read, but it also has interviews with workers from the Industrial Revolution about their working conditions and health.