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Hello, I'm Mr. Olivey and I'm going to be teaching you for the next four lessons about 19th century Britain.

Now, in order to be prepared for our lesson, I just need you to do two things.

The first, is can you make sure you've got a pen and some paper to write with.

If you haven't got those, pause the video now and go get them.

Okay, good.

Second thing is, can you find a recent quiet place to work just so you can really focus on the new stories and the new ideas you're going to be coming across this lesson.

Right now, you've done those two things.

We're ready to start.

I can't wait to teach you about this.

This is my favourite topic, but actually reading a book just now about inventions and all the new ideas and changes to society that happened in the 19th century.

So without further ado let's get started.

So this is lesson one of four lesson enquiry, and the title of today's lesson is child labour during the Industrial Revolution.

And our enquiry question is how far did working conditions improve during the 19th century? Not to be able to answer our enquiry question.

We need to think a lot about what the question is asking us.

And this is really a question about change.

How far as the century, how much did things change during the 19th century.

Now, to be able to answer this question, we actually first need to know about what working conditions were like at the beginning of the 19th century, which is exactly what we're going to do this lesson.

The first I'd like to start off by telling you a bit about this picture.

Now, this picture shows what working conditions were like in around the year 1800.

It shows two boys working underground in a mine.

The slightly older boy is pushing a cart known as a corf along some tracks, and this cart is full of coal.

And the boy's job is called a Thruster.

It's his job to push this cart, It's very heavy through the mine.

In the left of the picture you'll see a much younger boy.

They're sitting in a hole in the wall of the mineshaft next to a door.

He's called a Trapper.

And it's his job to open a trap door, to allow the coals to pass through.

The Trappers is probably not older than about five or six.

It was very young children that did this sort of work in the mines because the mine shafts were so small.

And it was incredibly dangerous.

Thousands died in horrible accidents, deep underground.

And just to add one more horrific thing to this sort of scene, these boys would have often been working in total darkness because there was no electric lighting then, there was no gas lighting underground and candles were often far too expensive for these sort of very poor families to afford.

So there've been four and five year olds working deep underground in dangerous damp conditions in total darkness.

And I think the example of the Thrusters and the Trappers who worked in the coal mines is one of the best examples of how awful working conditions were in 1800.

So now I'd like you to write that title down, subtitle, working conditions in 1800.

Because we need to understand this to be able to really answer our enquiry in a few lessons time.

Pause video now to write that down.

Okay, good.

Now to explain what working conditions were like in 1800, I'm actually not going to show you any more pictures or any more sort of horrible stories about mine.

I'm actually going to read you some poems because I think that the poetry of William Blake is one of the best sort of insights we have into the sort of awful world of work for many poor families in 1800.

This first poem is called "The Echoing Green." And it's about life in the countryside, rural life.

Now I'm just going to read it to you.

And while I read it, I just want you to sort of tell me how many happy of positive words can you pick out in Blake's poem about the countryside? It's the poem, The Echoing Green.

The sun does arise and make happy the skies, The Merry bells ring to welcome the Spring.

The sky-lark and thrush, The birds of the bush, Sing louder around, To the bells' cheerful sound, While our sport shall be seen On the Ecchoing Green.

Okay, so that was just one sort of part of the poem.

And I just thought to pause the video now and see how many happy words you can pick out.

Okay, so you might've picked out sun, happy, merry, welcome, sing, cheerful, sport.

Blake clearly has a very positive idea about what the countryside is like in 1789.

He thinks that it's a place of cheerfulness and sports and happiness and songs.

Now I'd like you to contrast that to one of what Blake's other poems. The Blake's very famous poem, "London" or part of it.

I've had to cut some bits out, cause it's a bit long.

And again, I'd like you to listen to me, read this one, but while I read this one, I want you to look out for any word that is miserable.

The sad, that makes London seem like a dangerous or scary place.

I wander thro' each charter'd street, Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.

And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man, In every infants cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg'd manacles I hear How the Chimney-sweepers cry Every blackning Church appals, And the hapless Soldiers sigh Runs in blood down Palace walls.


A few words before you pause there, just sort of tell you what they mean, because it can be a bit tricky.

Charter'd street is talking about how all of the property is owned by certain people in all kinds of laws governing it.

A woe, it's like incredible feelings of sadness.

So a mark of woe is like someone who looks incredibly sad and see the sadness etched onto their faces.

Mind-forg'd manacles.

Now this has a bit of a complicated phrase, a manacle are essential chains that used to keep a prisoner in or slave.

The Blake is saying that there are manacles that have been forged that have been made by people's minds.

Okay, pause video now and see how many sort of negative words you can pick out related to London.

Okay, so just from the top of my head, I can see weakness, woe, cry, ban, manacles, appals, sigh, blood.

London is not a happy place according to William Blake.

Now to understand why London was such a miserable place.

We just need to look at one more of Blake's poems. And that is "Chimney Sweep." Now this poem is about the sort of work that many children in big cities like London had to do.

Just again, listen very carefully and try and pick out those negative words about this kind of work or so.

A little black thing among the snow, Crying "weep!'weep!" in notes of woe! "Where are thy father and mother? say?" They are both gone up to the church to pray.

Because I was happy on the heath, And smiled among the winter's snow, They clothed me in the clothes of death, And taught me to sing the notes of woe.

Okay, so pause the video now and one last time let's try and pick out those sort of negative words associated with this kind of industrial work.

Good, so you might have picked out weep, crying, death, woe, this is a really awful kind of work according to William Blake.

Because what Blake's poems always did is they contrasted the kind of awful hard work that people had to do in the cities in saying 1800 with the simpler life that he saw in the countryside that he believed was being destroyed.

The Blake thought that this Industrial Revolution, which we're going to come to in a minute, this Industrial Revolution that was taking place in Britain was destroying the simple life scene in places like The Echoing Green and replacing it with this rubbish, awful miserable life in London, where people had to do terrible jobs like working at Jimmy Sweeps.


Now to start you've to have a go at answering this question.

What did William Blake think about working conditions in 1800? Read through the options and pick the one that you think best sound up best for you.

Okay, lets find out the answer.

So William Blake thought that city life caused pain and suffering for ordinary people.

He certainly did not think that factory work was beautiful or like a Summer's day or the factories made people's lives better or that it was part of God's plan.

He actually thought the factories had made life for ordinary people, much, much worse, and that cities were places of suffering and death.

Now, we come back to our enquiry then.

From having read Blake's poetry, we can already see that working conditions at the beginning of the 19th century, but certainly not ideal for many people.

There were kind of all kinds of horrible new jobs being invented like Jimmy Sweeps, like working down coal mines.

And this is very dangerous, very damaging to people's health.

I don't understand why all these new jobs were being created, we need to know something about this event, the Industrial Revolution.

So please could you write that title down on your piece of paper please.

Thank you.

Now, the Industrial Revolution transformed Britain from a country where in 1750, most people worked and lived in the countryside.

They worked as sort of farm labourers bringing in corn and crops and so on, to a country where by 1850 the majority of people worked in towns and cities.

The population of England increased enormously and all kinds of new inventions and new jobs were being created all the time.

It was a time of transformation, of change, of upheaval, of old ways of life that's survived for hundreds, even of years being torn apart and replaced by new ways of doing things.

And we can actually see these changes in the statistics that historians have gathered about the Industrial Revolution.

Now, some people find statistics quite boring, but I actually think these are fascinating because if we look at what happened to the population of England, we can see that it increased an enormous amount in just 120 years.

So in 1600, there are around 4 million people in England.

And by 1750, that's only increased to about 6 million.

So an increase of just under the 2 million, but between 1750 and 1871, population of England went from 5.

9 million to 21.

4 million.

It's almost quadrupled.

It's almost increased four times, that's enormous.

Similarly that look at how the population of London increases from around 670,000 in 1750 to over 3 million in 1871.

But I think these last two sort of rows are perhaps the most incredible.

The number of towns with over 5,000 inhabitants grows from 540 in 1750 to almost 9,000 by 1871.

Similarly, the percentage of the population that is urban.

I even lived in these towns and cities grows from 20% in 1750 to over 57% in 1871 in just 120 years.

England and Britain has been fundamentally transformed.

This is enormous, this is huge.

A world has gone from being very rural, where most people live in the countryside and work on the lowland.

It's being very urban where most people live in cities work in factories.

And this is a world full of new inventions, like steam trains, factories and steam engines.

Truly huge transformation there seeing both in the kinds of things people doing and actually the numbers that historians have about this.

Okay, so which of these options here did not happen during the Industrial Revolution, Read them through very carefully and then pause the video and pick the one that did not happen during the industrialization.


Number four, the population of London did not stay the same it increased for around 570,000 in 1750, that were over 3 million in 1870 huge increase there.

but all these other things did happen.

The number of towns increased from 540 to 89,000.

The majority of the population was urban by 1871.

And the population of England grew almost four times.

These are humongous changes that happened in the 18th and 19th century.

So now when we come back to our enquiry question, we can see then that working conditions may not be improving during the 19th century, but they were certainly changing.

There was certainly a shift away from people mainly working in the countryside towards people working in towns and cities.

And that was going to mean new kinds of work, new opportunities for some but also new challenges for many workers.

The final thing we need to do this lesson now, before you go into your reading sheets is think about what caused the Industrial Revolution.

Now we're not going to go into too much detail here because this is a bit of a diversion from our enquiry, but it's very important to know that historians have debated this question of ideal.

Now, some historians have looked to the Agricultural Revolution that actually happened before the Industrial Revolution.

Now the Agricultural Revolution essentially allowed Britain to grow much more food.

And it was all to do with improved farming technology, such as rotating the crops that they grew.

So rather than just growing potatoes in the same field forever.

You would rotate between different crops like Clover and turnips and barley and so on.

And the reason they would do this thing called the four crop rotation is because it would put nutrients back into the soil and allow new stuff to grow.

One of the other biggest innovations during the Agricultural Revolution was not combined harvesters.

Those weren't invented yet.

It was just that the kind of technology people used to harvest, you know, grain and corn and stuff improved slightly.

So they stopped using sickles, which are quite small and quite hard to use, and they started using scythe, which are much bigger, allow people to harvest more food more efficiently.

So the Agricultural Revolution is one thing, cause people said, well, if there was more food in Britain that allowed the population to boom, therefore you can have the Industrial Revolution.

Okay, that's quite a sensible argument i think.

Others, have said that actually the reason Britain had an Industrial Revolution, was because of the key dramatic coal deposits in places like Newcastle in the North of England.

And this therefore allowed Britain to burn this coal, And Britain was no longer stuck in this trap of having to rely on stuff that you could grow like wood to fuel the country.

Cause you can only grow a certain amount of wood every year, because there's only so much land that you can grow on.

Whereas coal, there was a huge amount of it just buried underground.

So you could burn as much as you wanted, while intellect runs out because obviously it is a fossil fuels there's only so much of it.

So that's another reason.

Other historians have looked to inventions and innovations.

So an invention is a new piece of technology and an innovation is an improvement on something that already exists.

So they looked at things like Stephenson's Rocket, they're sort of frame that was invented.

And they said, ah, It was inventions like this, that drove Britain to industrialise.

And there's certainly a lot of sense in that idea, of course, new inventions, are going to make processes for making things more efficient and they're probably going to lead to more people wanted to make even more inventions.

The final thing that the historian Eric Williams and others have identified, is that Britain in the sort of late 18th and early 19th century had an Empire.

And Britain also made a great deal of money up until 1807 from the slave trade, a trade in enslaved Africans, taking them from the Coast of Africa to sell them to North and South America.

And these historians like Eric Williams argued it was the money that came in from the Empire and from especially the slave trade that allowed Britain to industrialise.

And it was goods that were made in cities that were used to trade with slave traders in Africa.

So that's one of the other reasons historians have identified.

So there are all kinds then of different arguments about what caused the Industrial Revolution.

The point is that, we can't really be sure which of these it was.

In reality it was probably a combination of all of these and other factors that I've not even listed here.

You just pull up the video now, and just say, which of these has not been identified as a cause of the Industrial Revolution.

So, go through these now, which of them has not been identified as the cause of the industrially.

Pause the video now.

Okay, time for the answer.

It is, the invention of the motor car.

The first motorcar, it was invented towards the middle of the 19th century, actually by, I think it was by Mercedes Benz or at least by Benz.

Potentially I can't remember which, the people it was.

But it certainly was not a cause of the Industrial Revolution.

There were no motorcars during 1750 to 1850.

There was however, a slave trade in the British Empire, there were large deposits of coal in the North England, and there certainly was an Agricultural Revolution.

Those things all certainly did happen.


So, both where the, where we've got up to now with them with our enquiry, is we can see, that the Industrial Revolution led to profound changes in the kinds of work people were doing during the 19th century.

And that's going to be really vital for lessons two, three, and four.

Because that kind of background contextual knowledge will allow us to answer our enquiry question.

But just to consolidate all that now, and to consolidate your understanding of the kinds of work that people were doing, like Trappers and Thrusters in the coal lines.

I would like you to pause the video, read the slides on the next page and answer the comprehension questions and resume the video once you've finished.

Okay, let's go through those answers.

Question one.

What jobs did children do in coal mines in 1800? Great times as they worked as Trappers and Thrusters.

The better answer would be, children as young as four, worked in coal mines in 1800.

Thrusters push corfs full coal through the mines, Trappers open small trapdoors to allow the coal to move through the mine.

Both these jobs were dark and very dangerous.

Question two.

Why was being a chimney sweep such a dangerous job in 1800? Great chances because many sweeps suffocated.

A better answer would be, being a chimney sweep was a dangerous job.

These children were forced up narrow chimneys, many became stuck and suffocated among all the dust and soot.

Question three.

What did William Blake think about the Industrial Revolution? Great answer is Blake hated the Industrial Revolution.

The better answer would be, William Blake hated the Industrial Revolution.

He thought that it led to suffering and death.

Blake claimed that London placed mind-forged manacles on the people who lived there.

Question four.

What changed during the Industrial Revolution? The great answer will be, the population of England where people lived and the work that they did.

The better answer would be, England's population grew from 5.

9 million in 1700 to 21.

4 million in 1870.

By 1870, 57% of people lived in towns and cities.

Work also changed as people moved to work in factories and workshops.

Finally, question five.

What have historians identified as potential causes of the Industrial Revolution.

The Agricultural Revolution, coal, inventions and money from the Empire and slave trade would be correct answer.

The better answer would be, historians do not agree on whether it was the Agricultural Revolution, coal inventions or the Empire and slavery, that caused the Industrial Revolution.

So we now understand, the kinds of work, people were doing in the beginning of the 18th century.

And if I was to show you this picture now, you could explain to me that it was because of the Industrial Revolution, the children as young as four were first forced to work in coal mines as Thrusters and as Trappers.

Now, in order to allow us to answer our enquiry questions in the next few lessons, what I'd like you to do is just pause the video and write down a few thoughts, write down everything you now know about working conditions at the beginning of the 19th century.

Because we can't answer our enquiry question yet, but we can certainly think about some of the stuff we're going to need to answer it, which is essentially to know about the Industrial Revolution and what work was like at the beginning of the 19th century So pause video now and just write down your thoughts on that.

Okay, well done.

Now finished the lesson.

If you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

Well done for all your hard work today.

This is definitely one of my favourite topics to teach.

I just find a 19th century Britain so fascinating, and I can't wait to teach you about the changes to government legislation related to working conditions next lesson.

Okay, bye for now.