Industrial Revolution and Condition of England Question

Compiled by Plavita Das, Kaveri Rajbongshi, Bhabana Devi, Iramoni Deka, Jupitara Mazumdar,Mridula Kalita, Barasha Rani Bora, Elora Goswami, Mridula Das, Silpishikha Sarma, Rubi Nath, Rijumoni Rajbongshi, Amrita Mandal under the Guidance of Dr. Dipen Bezbaruah


  • What is industrial revolution? What happened during the Industrial Revolution?

The industrial revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and US, in the period from about 1760 to between 1820 and 1840. Before the advent of the Industrial Revolution, most people resided in small, rural communities where their daily existences revolved around farming. With marginal income the life for the average person was difficult. Malnourishment and disease were common among the average people. People produced the bulk of their own food, clothing, furniture and tools. Most manufacturing was done in homes or small, rural shops, using hand tools or simple machines. However, with the advent of new technology and new machineries the works shifted from hand to machine. This shift on one hand reduced traditional manufacturing in people’s homes and on the other hand stimulated the growth of factories for mass production.

  • Why was Britain the birthplace of Industrial Revolution?

There were a number of factors that contributed to Britain’s role as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Firstly, in Britain there were great deposits of coal and iron ore, which proved essential for industrialization.

Secondly, Britain was a politically stable.

Thirdly, it was the world’s leading colonial power, which meant its colonies could serve as a source for raw materials, as well as a marketplace for manufactured goods

  • Which are the three factories that contributed most to Industrial Revolution?

Textile, coal and iron industries

  • What was the working condition in cities for adults and children?

There had been no great difference between the work of a child and an adult. Both had to work very hard for low wages. But the children were ill-paid in comparison to the adults. They had to work in hazardous conditions. Children were employed to clean the chimneys. Adults had to work amidst the danger of explosions in a coal mine. The workers had to work in very unhygienic condition for long hours. While for men the working time was between 12-15 hours, for children it was 10-12 hours. They often got hurt and sick.

  • What was the quality of life during Industrial Revolution?

The Industrial Revolution brought about radical changes in the quality of life of people. People in general started to get greater volume and variety of factory-produced goods and raised the standard of living for many people, especially for the middle and upper classes. However, life for the poor and working classes continued to be filled with challenges. Labourers were very little paid. The working conditions could be dangerous and monotonous. Unskilled workers had little job security and they were easily replaceable. Children were part of the labour force and often had to work for long hours in highly hazardous conditions. They were given the tasks of cleaning the machinery.

In the early 1860s, an estimated one-fifth of the workers in Britain’s textile industry were younger than 15. Industrialization also meant replacement of craftspeople by machines. Additionally, urban, industrialized areas were unable to keep pace with the flow of arriving workers from the countryside, resulting in inadequate, overcrowded housing and polluted, unsanitary living conditions in which disease was rampant.

  • Given two distinctive features of production through industrial revolution?
  1. Industrial revolution started a new era of large scale production with investment of huge capital, through a well knit organization and expert management.
  2. Industrial revolution brought about drastic changes in the means of production and the general mood of  life.


  • What do you understand by condition of England novel?

Compiled by Naina Yeasmin

Ans: The term the “Condition of England novels” refers to a body of narrative fiction, also known as industrial novels, social novels or social problem novels, published in Victorian England during and after the period of Hungry Forties. The term directly relates to the famous “Condition of England Question” raised by Thomas Carlyle in “Chartism”(1839). Although some of these narrative were published earlier.

“Condition of England novels” sought to engage directly with the contemporary social and political issues with a focus on the representation of class, gender, and labour relations, as well as on social unrest and growing antagonism between the rich and poor in England.Even a cursory glance at the history of the early Victorian novels reveals that many writers shared a particular concern : The social consequences of the Industrial Revolution in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Early Victorian condition of England novels tried to be a repository of social conscience, ab ability to emphathise with unbearable social inquiries and injustices. A number of writers were strongly motivated to arouse sympathy for the conditions of the emerging working class. Social conscience was a dominant ideology in early Victorian England until it was replaced by benevolence and humanitarianism , which were manifested in the reforms of the late nineteenth Century.

“Condition of England novels” helped raise the collective awareness of the reading public and in a way, illuminated the directions for both nineteenth century and twentieenth century welfare reforms. It is generally agreed that canonical condition of England novels include Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel “Mary Barton” (1848), is usually a cited as a classic in this genre. The theme of Mary Barton concerns the life of Bartons, a working class family and the crisis that results from the involvement of the father, Jhon Barton in a murder that is motivate class difference. There were other industrial novels published before Gaskell’s Mary Barton one of which was Frances Trollope’s “The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, The Factory Boy” (1840).The novel is interesting as an example of the early Victorian response to the experience of industrialism.One of most celebrated instance of this particular kind of writing is the opening passage of Charles Dickens’s “Hard Times”, a passage that inaugurates the theme of utilitarianism and caricatures the emphasis on a mechanical way of life.

Another of Dickens’s novel “Dombey and Son” (1848) dealt with the theme of mercenary pursuit, even though it was not strictly based upon the context of industrialism. Two novels by Charles Kingsley “Yeast”(1848) and “Alton Like”(1850) -too dealt with the “Condition of England” question.