Industrial Revolution Conditions for industrialization Agricultural Revolution James Watt Transportation Factory

Industrial Revolution

Conditions for industrialization

Agricultural Revolution

James Watt


Factory System

Mass Production


Key Readings: “Women in the Mines” + RGH #17-18

Please define and answer these key terms

Reading RGH 17 is in the file

Reading RGH 18 here-…

An Industrial Town
Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, Written in 1854, is one of the most evocative
novels about England’s industrial age. Few writers could describe the sights,
sounds and even smells of factory work and life as well as he did for his avid
readers. England had just celebrated its progress at the Crystal Palace Exposition, but Dickens finds in Coketown greedy capitalists like Bounderby and
“efficiency experts” like Gradgrind who see none of life’s beauty. In the
following selection, Dickens describes Coketown, the model of an industrial
Discussion Questions
1. What does Dickens mean by saying Coketown was “a triumph of
2. Why didn’t the laboring people go to church?
3. Why does Dickens say that the millers of Coketown were as
fragile as China-ware?
4. How would a modern environmentalist describe Coketown?
5. What connections could you make between the testimony before the Sadler
committee and Dickens’ description of Coketown?
COKETOWN, to which Messrs. Bounderby and Gradgrind now walked, was a
triumph of fact; it had no greater taint of fancy in it than Mrs. Gradgrind herself.
Let us strike the key-note, Coketown, before pursuing our tune.
It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke
and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and
black like the painted face of a savage. It was a town of machinery and tall
chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for
ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that
ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of building full of windows where
there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the
steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in
a state of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very like one
another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people
equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same
sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day
was the same as yesterday and to-morrow, and every year the counterpart of the
last and the next.
These attributes of Coketown were in the main inseparable from the work by
which it was sustained; against them were to be set off, comforts of life which
found their way all over the world, and elegancies of life which made, we will not
ask how much of the fine lady, who could scarcely bear to hear the place
mentioned. The rest of its features were voluntary, and they were these.
You saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful. If the members
of a religious persuasion built a chapel there-as the members of eighteen religious
persuasions had done-they made it a pious warehouse of red brick, with
sometimes (but this is only in highly ornamental examples) a bell in a birdcage on
the top of it. The solitary exception was the New Church; a stuccoed edifice with
a square steeple over the door, terminating in four short pinnacles like florid
wooden legs. All the public inscriptions in the town were painted alike, in severe
characters of black and white. The jail might have been the infirmary, the
infirmary might have been the jail, the town-hall might have been either, or both,
or anything else, for anything that appeared to the contrary in the graces of their
construction. Fact, fact, fact, everywhere in the material aspect of the town; fact,
fact, fact, everywhere in the immaterial. The M’Choakumchild school was all fact,
and the school of design was all fact, and the relations between master and man
were all fact, and everything was fact between the lying-in hospital and the
cemetery, and what you couldn’t state in figures, or show to be purchaseable in
the cheapest market and saleable in the dearest, was not, and never should be,
world without end, Amen.
A town so sacred to fact, and so triumphant in its assertion, of course got on
well? Why no, not quite well. No? Dear me!
No. Coketown did not come out of its own furnaces, in all respects like gold
that had stood the fire. First, the perplexing mystery of the place was, Who
belonged to the eighteen denominations? Because, whoever did, the labouring
people did not. It was very strange to walk through the streets on a Sunday
morning, and note how few of them the barbarous jangling of bells that was
driving the sick and nervous mad, called away from their own quarter, from their
own close rooms, from the corners of their own streets, where they lounged
listlessly, gazing at all the church and chapel going, as at a thing with which they
had no manner of concern. Nor was it merely the stranger who noticed this,
because there was a native organization in Coketown itself, whose members were
to be heard of in the House of Commons every session, indignantly petitioning for
acts of parliament that should make these people religious by main force. Then
came the Teetotal Society, who complained that these same peoplewould get
drunk, and showed in tabular statements that they did get drunk, and proved at tea
parties that no inducement, human or Divine (except a medal), would induce them
to forego their custom of getting drunk. Then came the chemist and druggist, with
other tabular statements, showing that when they didn’t get drunk, they took
opium. Then came the experienced chaplain of the jail, with more tabular
statements, outdoing all the previous tabular statements, and showing that the
same people would resort to low haunts, hidden from the public eye, where they
heard low singing and saw low dancing, and mayhap joined in it; and where A.
B., aged twenty-four next birthday, and committed for eighteen months’ solitary,
had himself said (not that he had ever shown himself particularly worthy of
belief) his ruin began, as he was perfectly sure and confident that otherwise he
would have been a tip-top moral specimen.
I ENTERTAIN a weak idea that the English people are as hard-worked as any
people upon whom the sun shines. I acknowledge to this ridiculous idiosyncrasy,
as a reason why I would give them a little more play.
In the hardest working part of Coketown; in the innermost fortifications of that
ugly citadel, where Nature was as strongly bricked out as killing airs and gases
were bricked in; at the heart of the labyrinth of narrow courts upon courts, and
close streets upon streets, which had come into existence piecemeal, every piece
in a violent hurry for some one man’s purpose, and the whole an unnatural family,
shouldering, and trampling, and pressing one another to death; in the last close
nook of this great exhausted receiver, where the chimneys, for want of air to make
a draught, were built in an immense variety of stunted and crooked shapes, as
though every house put out a sign of the kind of people who might be expected to
be born in it; among the multitude of Coketown, generically called ‘the Hands,’-a
race who would have found more favour with some people, if Providence had
seen fit to make them only hands, or, like the lower creatures of the seashore, only
hands and stomachs-lived a certain Stephen Blackpool, forty years of age.
Stephen looked older, but he had had a hard life. It is said that every life has its
roses and thorns; there seemed, however, to have been a misadventure or mistake
in Stephen’s case, whereby somebody else had become possessed of his roses, and
he had become possessed of the same somebody else’s thorns in addition to his
own. He had known, to use his words, a peck of trouble. He was usually called
Old Stephen, in a kind of rough homage to the fact.
A rather stooping man, with a knitted brow, a pondering expression of face, and
a hard-looking head sufficiently capacious, on which his iron-grey hair lay long
and thin, Old Stephen might have passed for a particularly intelligent man in his
condition. Yet he was not. He took no place among those remarkable ‘Hands,’
who, piecing together their broken intervals of leisure through many years, had
mastered difficult sciences, and acquired a knowledge of most unlikely things. He
held no station among the Hands who could make speeches and carry on debates.
Thousands of his compeers could talk much better than he, at any time. He was a
good power-loom weaver, and a man of perfect integrity. What more he was, or
what else he had in him, if anything, let him show for himself.
The lights in the great factories, which looked, when they were illuminated,
like Fairy palaces-or the travellers by express-train said so-were all extinguished;
and the bells had rung for knocking off for the night, and had ceased again; and
the Hands, men and women, boy and girl, were clattering home. Old Stephen was
standing in the street, with the old sensation upon him which the stoppage of the
machinery always produced-the sensation of its having worked and stopped in his
own head.

A SUNNY midsummer day. There was such a thing sometimes, even in
Seen from a distance in such weather, Coketown lay shrouded in a haze of its
own, which appeared impervious to the sun’s rays. You only knew the town was
there, because you knew there could have been no such sulky blotch upon the
prospect without a town. A blur of soot and smoke, now confusedly tending this
way, now that way, now aspiring to the vault of Heaven, now murkily creeping
along the earth, as the wind rose and fell, or changed its quarter: a dense formless
jumble, with sheets of cross light in it, that showed nothing but masses of
darkness:-Coketown in the distance was suggestive of itself, though not a brick of
it could be seen.
The wonder was, it was there at all. It had been ruined so often, that it was
amazing how it had borne so many shocks. Surely there never was such fragile
china-ware as that of which the millers of Coketown were made. Handle them
never so lightly, and they fell to pieces with such ease that you might suspect
them of having been flawed before. They were ruined, when they were required to
send labouring children to school; they were ruined when inspectors were
appointed to look into their works; they were ruined, when such inspectors
considered it doubtful whether they were quite justified in chopping people up
with their machinery; they were utterly undone, when it was hinted that perhaps
they need not always make quite so much smoke. Besides Mr. Bounderby’s gold
spoon which was generally received in Coketown, another prevalent fiction was
very popular there. It took the form of a threat. Whenever a Coketowner felt he
was ill-used-that is to say, whenever he was not left entirely alone, and it was
proposed to hold him accountable for the consequences of any of his acts-he was
sure to come out with the awful menace, that he would ‘sooner pitch his property
into the Atlantic.’ This had terrified the Home Secretary within an inch of his life,
on several occasions.
However, the Coketowners were so patriotic after all, that they never had
pitched their property into the Atlantic yet, but, on the contrary, had been kind
enough to take mighty good care of it. So there it was, in the haze yonder; and it
increased and multiplied.
The streets were hot and dusty on the summer day, and the sun was so bright
that it even shone through the heavy vapour drooping over Coketown, and could
not be looked at steadily. Stokers emerged from low underground doorways into
factory yards, and sat on steps, and posts, and palings, wiping their swarthy
visages, and contemplating coals. The whole town seemed to be frying in oil.
There was a stifling smell of hot oil everywhere. The steam-engines shone with it,
the dresses of the Hands were soiled with it, the mills throughout their many
stories oozed and trickled it. The atmosphere of those Fairy palaces was like the
breath of the simoom: and their inhabitants, wasting with heat, toiled languidly in
the desert. But no temperature made the melancholy mad elephants more mad or
more sane. Their wearisome heads went up and down at the same rate, in hot
weather and cold, wet weather and dry, fair weather and foul. The measured
motion of their shadows on the walls, was the substitute Coketown had to show
for the shadows of rustling woods; while, for the summer hum of insects, it could
offer, all the year round, from the dawn of Monday to the night of Saturday, the
whirr of shafts and wheels.
Drowsily they whirred all through this sunny day, making the passenger more
sleepy and more hot as he passed the humming walls of the mills. Sun-blinds, and
sprinklings of water, a little cooled the main streets and the shops; but the mills,
and the courts and alleys, baked at a fierce heat. Down upon the river that was
black and thick with dye, some Coketown boys who were at large-a rare sight
there-rowed a crazy boat, which made a spumous track upon the water as it
jogged along, while every dip of an oar stirred up vile smells. But the sun itself,
however beneficent, generally, was less kind to Coketown than hard frost, and
rarely looked intently into any of its closer regions without engendering more
death than life. So does the eye of Heaven itself become an evil eye, when
incapable or sordid hands are interposed between it and the things it looks upon to

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