People in History: A worker in an English city in 1850

Children queuing outside a soup kitchen in Manchester
in the 19th century.
Main page: Industrial England

This is an unusual question which rarely appears, but it could come up as an option again at any time. It's not quite the same as the mine/factory worker question, it's more of a mix between the working conditions and the living conditions in Industrial Revolution England. With that in mind, it's a very easy question to prepare for, and this is how you could do it.


  • For this type of question, it's easier to say you're a factory worker, so introduce yourself. "I work in a textile factory in Manchester...".
    • Talk about your working conditions. It's the same information you'd give if you were answering the mine/factory worker question, but you might go into less detail than before. A line about your jobs, a line about the dangerous conditions, and a few lines about new laws to improve the conditions will do.
      • Now, once work is done, talk about the place in which you live. How has the city grown? Why?
        • What kind of house do you live in? Describe the conditions. Do your children get an education?
          • What do you do for leisure? You don't have much time off work, but what do you do during it?
            • How is your health? Disease was widespread, so you'll need to talk about that and the efforts taken to improve public health.
              • Finish up with a few lines on the other improvements being made in your town (main streets being paved, street cleaning, improved sewage, etc.). You might think there's a bright future ahead!

                So, in short...

                1. Introduce yourself as a textile factory worker.
                2. Talk about your working conditions (roughly 3-4 points).
                3. How has the city grown?
                4. What kind of house do you live in? How do your family live?
                5. What do you do for leisure?
                6. Health conditions and disease in the town.
                7. Improvements in public health and elsewhere.
                 
                Don't...
                • talk in third-person. This is a first person answer. (e.g. I am, I will...)
                • name a term (e.g. vaccine or urbanisation) and not explain what it means. You will lose marks if you don't.
                • talk about anything irrelevant (e.g. the weather). You will get no marks for irrelevant information.

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