The Issues Raised by the Growth of Manchester
Manchester is a city in England that experienced tremendous growth between the 1750’s and 1850’s. The population grew from 18,000 in 1750 to over 300,000 by the census of 1851.
This growth called for more homes and factories to be built in order to support the growing population. With the constructing of more factories to support the rise in population came the growth of industry and manufacturing. The growth of the city, along with these factories, brought about several issues other than the manufacturing of valuable goods.
The overcrowding from the population growth and the smog, smoke, and other toxic waste from the factories brought about the issue of pollution and bad living conditions. Pollution and the horrible quality of living was a prevalent issue because it brought about disease and death. Also, with a growing population comes a larger demand for products.
The city was forced to manufacture more items so that it could provide for more men. In order for all of these products to be made, men needed to work longer than they should on lower pay in places which the products fouled the breathing air.
This issue of bad working conditions led to starvation, sickness, poverty, and death. Because of the growth of Manchester, the issues of manufacturing and industrial growth, pollution of the living areas, and bad working conditions were raised. While the issue of the growth of manufacturing and industry was looked upon with esteem, the issues of the pollution of living areas and bad working conditions received reactions of disgust.
The growth of Manchester brought with it the issue of manufacturing and industrial growth.
Because of the growing population of Manchester, more goods needed to be manufactured in order to support the large number of people in the city. More factories were built, more goods were produced, and manufacturing and production began to steeply rise. The city map shown in Document 1 reveals this growth in manufacturing, showing the building of many new canals and railroads to transport these manufactured goods. Because it is a historical map, there is no bias that needs to be accounted for.
Wheelan and Co. a preface to a business directory, says, “It is to the population that Manchester is mainly indebted to its elevation as a seat of commerce and manufacture…for which it is distinguished beyond any other town in the world” (Document 9). This also shows how the growth of the city and its population resulted in this issue of manufacturing and commercial growth. Wheelan and Co. reacts to this elevation of the city saying, “Perhaps no part of England, not even London, presents such remarkable and attractive features as Manchester, the Workshop of the World” (Document 9).
This reaction is positive toward the manufacturing growth of the city, describing it as “remarkable” and “attractive.
” Another positive opinion on the growth of manufacturing is seen when Thomas B. Macaulay, a liberal Member of Parliament, says that “improvements are owing to the increase in national wealth which the manufacturing system has produced” (Document 3). This reaction shows how he thinks that the growth of manufacturing in Manchester is the basis for the improvement and the wealth of the whole country of England.
Because he is a member of English Parliament, he may have a positive bias towards Manchester because it is an English city. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French visitor to Manchester, reacts in a similar way to the issue of the growth of manufacturing that resulted from the growth of the city saying, “from this [city] the greatest steam of human industry flows out to fertilize the whole world.
From this [city] pure gold flows” (Document 5). Tocqueville’s reaction to this issue of industrial and manufacturing growth shows it as being magnificent.
He describes the city’s production as valuable and rich. His point of view is mostly objective because he is a visitor who is just writing about his observations, but he may have some bias against Manchester because he is French and France was a rival of England (POV). All of these people’s reactions, bias or not, agree that the issue of Manchester’s increase in manufacturing from the growth of the city has a positive effect.
Aside from the positive issue of manufacturing growth, the growth of Manchester raised the issue of pollution of living areas.
A picture of Manchester published in a weekly magazine called The Graphic depicts the issue of pollution that resulted from the growth of the city. There is smoke and smog coming from the factories and polluting the air while factory waste is being poured into a canal. The overcrowding that resulted from the population growth along with these factories built to support the growing city helped contribute to this pollution. Robert Southey, an English Romantic poet, after visiting Manchester in 1807, wrote about the city, revealing how the issue of pollution resulted from the growth of the city.
He describes the overcrowding factor as a “multitude crowded together in narrow streets” (Document 2). He also describes the contribution of the factories to the pollution when he describes, “the houses all built of brick and blackened with smoke” (Document 2). He reacts to this pollution negatively by depicting everything as “without their antiquity [and] without their beauty” (Document 2). Because he is English, he may have had a positive bias towards this English city, which makes his negative assertions even more compelling (POV).
In addition, Edwin Chadwick, a public health reformer, wrote about the pollution of the living area in Manchester in his Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population in Britain. He describes how the issue of pollution was raised by the growth of the city saying that the “atmospheric impurities [are] produced by overcrowded dwellings” (Document 6).
His reaction to the severity of this issue is seen when he says that “the annual loss of life from filth and bad ventilation is greater than the loss from death or wounds in modern wars” (Document 6).
Chadwick also says “these circumstances tend to produce an adult population [that is] reckless and intemperate” (Document 6). This shows his negative reaction revealing how he thinks that the pollution is corrupting the men of the society’s behavior in addition to their health. Because it was a scientific study, there is little to no bias (POV).
The issue of pollution that the growth of the city raised received negative reactions from all who wrote about it, describing its damaging effects on society.
The growth of Manchester not only polluted living areas, but it also raised the issue of horrific working conditions. With a growing population comes a larger demand for products. In order for all of these demands to be met, men needed to work longer than they should on lower pay in places which the manufacturing fouled the breathing air. Document 8 shows an excerpt from The Lancet, a British medical journal, which has the average age at death in different districts, different cities, and of people with different jobs.
In industrial districts, the average age at death ranges from 8 to 21 years younger than in rural districts depending on occupation and city.
It also shows that laborers and artisans in Manchester on average die three years younger than farmers and traders, and 21 years earlier than gentry and professionals. This is due to the fact that laborers and artisans work in the factories that rose from the growth of the population. This information is factual and therefore is unbiased (POV).
Flora Tristan, a French socialist, published a journal of her reactions to the working conditions in the city of Manchester.
She states her opinion that “unless you have visited the manufacturing towns and seen the workers of Manchester, you cannot appreciate the physical suffering and moral degradation of this class of the population” (Document 7). This shows how she feels that the working conditions raised by the growth of Manchester are damaging to those who work under them. More of her reaction is seen when Tristan says, “O God!
Can progress be brought only at the cost of men’s lives? ” (Document 7). This negative reaction makes the point that the working conditions needed to support the growing population are horrible and even deadly. Because Tristan is French, she may have had some bias against the rival English (POV).
Even though, between the study in Document 8 and Tristan’s reaction in Document 7, it is clear that the working conditions which were brought about by the growth of Manchester were a very negative and prevalent issue.
With the growth of Manchester came three main issues: the issues of manufacturing and industrial growth, pollution of the living areas, and bad working conditions were raised. The issue of the growth of manufacturing and industry was looked upon with esteem, but the issues of the pollution of living areas and bad working conditions received horrific reactions. The issue of the growth of manufacturing brought about esteem and prosperity to the nation.
Although it made money for Manchester, the gas and waste from the factories used to manufacture for the growing population polluted the living areas.
In addition, the working conditions in these factories were awful. In order for all of the products needed in order to support the city to be made, men needed to work longer than they should on lower pay in places which the products fouled the breathing air. This issue of bad working conditions led to starvation, sickness, poverty, and death.
Although the growth of Manchester brought money into the city, it also rose issues of polluted living and bad areas to work in.