The Factory Learning Journey
Follow the Learning Journey steps and experience the world of the cotton factory.
Click on the steps below to explore.
The Factory Learning Journey Step 1
Imagine moving away from the cottages and workshops that have been a family home for generations. New Acts of Parliament especially the Enclosures Acts (1760-1830) have taken away the rights of villagers to graze animals on common land. Without land people are destitute.
But there are jobs in the new cotton manufactory in Manchester, the wages are low (10 shillings a week in 1834) and the hours are long. Working for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week it's possible to make subsistence wages. Many have already left - the village is deserted. It's time to move on, life for Lancashire's' rural poor is changing for ever. Without land they must move into the town, accept the harsh working conditions of the factory and for the first time become totally dependant on wages. Visitors to Lancashire from other parts of Europe comment on the plight of the factory workers:
".......how lucky we are in Switzerland where there is a balance between manufacturing industry and agriculture. In England a heavy fall in the sale of manufactured goods would have the most dreadful results. Not one of the many thousand English factory workers owns a single inch of land from which he can live if he draws no wages"
These words later proved to be prophetic when thousands of Lancashire cotton workers starved in the cotton famine of 1861- 65).
(source: Source: Johan (Hans) Caspar Escher writing in 1815 in L.D. Bradshaw (ed.) Visitors to Manchester: A selection of British and Foreign Visitors Descriptions of Manchester from c1538 to 1865)
Follow the learning journey steps to the factory towns!