the industrial revolution in britain…a people\'s perspective

May 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, European History, Europe (1815-1915), Industrial Revolution
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FLYING SHUTTLE For centuries handloom weaving had been carried out on the basis of the shuttle bearing the yarn being passed slowly and awkwardly from one hand to the other. In 1733 John Kay patented his flying shuttle that dramatically increased the speed of this process. Kay placed shuttle boxes at each side of the loom connected by a long board, known as a shuttle race. By means of cords attached to a picking peg, a single weaver, using one hand, could cause the shuttle to be knocked back and forth across the loom from one shuttle box to the other. A weaver using Kay's flying shuttle could produce much wider cloth at faster speeds than before.

SPINNING JENNY James Hargreaves was a weaver living in the village of Stanhill in Lancashire. It is claimed that one day his daughter Jenny, accidentally knocked over over the family spinning wheel. The spindle continued to revolve and it gave Hargreaves the idea that a whole line of spindles could be worked off one wheel. In 1764 Hargreaves built what became known as the SpinningJenny. The machine used eight spindles onto which the thread was spun from a corresponding set of rovings. By turning a single wheel, the operator could now spin eight threads at once. Later, improvements were made that enabled the number to be increased to eighty. It is estimated that by the time James Hargreaves died in 1778, over 20,000 Spinning-Jenny machines were being used in Britain

STEAM ENGINE In 1763 James Watt was sent a Newcomen steam engine to repair. While putting it back into working order, Watt discovered how he could make the engine more efficient. Watt took his ideas to Matthew Boulton, and for the next eleven years Boulton's factory produced and sold Watt's steam-engines. These machines were mainly used to pump water from mines. Watt's machine was very popular because it was four times more powerful than old versions. Watt continued to experiment and by 1782 had produced a rotarymotion steam engine. His machine now drove on both the forward and backward strokes of the piston, and a sun-and-planet gear produced rotary motion. This new steam engine could be used to drive different types of machinery. In 1783 Richard Arkwright began using Watt's steam-engine in his textile mill. Others followed his lead and by 1800 there were over 500 of Watt's machines in Britain's mines and factories. Watt calculated that a horse exerted a pull of 180 lb., therefore, when he made a machine, he described its power in relation to a horse, i.e. "a 20 horse-power engine".

COTTON GIN Eli Whitney was the inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Whitney was born in Westboro, Massachusetts on December 8, 1765 and died on January 8, 1825. By April 1793, Whitney had designed and constructed the cotton gin, a machine that automated the separation of cottonseed from the short-staple cotton fiber. Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States. Prior to his invention, farming cotton required hundreds of man-hours to separate the cottonseed from the raw cotton fibers. Simple seed-removing devices have been around for centuries, however, Eli Whitney's invention automated the seed separation process. His machine could generate up to fifty pounds of cleaned cotton daily, making cotton production profitable for the southern states.

THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

THE ENCLOSURE MOVEMENT

the days of the revolution. Recorded by Billy Bragg amongst many others,

The Enclosure Movement was a push in the 18th and 19th centuries to take land that had formerly been owned in common by all members of a village, or at least available to the public for grazing animals and growing food, and change it to privately owned land, usually with walls, fences or hedges around it. It became very common in the 1700s, and eventually the English Parliament passed the General Enclosure Act of 1801 and the Enclosure Act of 1845, making enclosures of certain lands possible throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

An English rebel folk song celebrating the works of the Diggers back in and often sung by British socialists or anarchists.

In 1649 To St George's Hill A ragged band they called the Diggers Came to show the people's will They defied the landlords They defied the laws They were the dispossessed Reclaiming what was theirs 'We come in peace' they said 'To dig and sow We come to work the land in common And to make the waste land grow This earth divided We will make whole So it can be A common treasury for all 'The sin of property We do disdain No one has any right to buy and sell The earth for private gain By theft and murder They took the land Now everywhere the walls Rise up at their command 'They make the laws To chain us well The clergy dazzle us with heaven Or they damn us into hell We will not worship The God they serve The God of greed who feeds the rich While poor men starve 'We work, we eat together We need no swords We will not bow to masters Or pay rent to the lords We are free men Though we are poor' You Diggers all stand up for glory Stand up now From the men of property The orders came They sent the hired men and troopers To wipe out the Diggers claim Tear down their cottages Destroy their corn They were dispersed Only the vision lingers on 'You poor take courage You rich take care The earth was made a common treasury For everyone to share All things in common All people one We come in peace'... The order came ... to cut them down

The English government and aristocracy started enclosing land because it would allow for better raising of crops and animals (particularly sheep for their wool). Large fields could be farmed more efficiently than individual plots allotted from common land. Sheep or cattle could graze in the enclosed fields without wandering into crops; the enclosed fields also allowed for better breeding, since some wandering bull couldn't sire calves that didn't have the tender meat the breeder was striving for. This was really the beginning of commercial farming. However, the consequence for the people who had been tilling or grazing their animals on the land was often eviction, sending many of them to slums in the cities in hopes of finding work in the lowpaying factories spawned by the Industrial Revolution. Even if they were employed on the now-enclosed land by its owner, the formerly selfsupporting peasants became much more dependent on the success of the owner's farming plans (as well as having more risk of eviction) and lost access to places where they used to gather firewood, fruit, nuts, and other supplements to their own crops. The enclosures done by Parliamentary Act were not quite as bad; each peasant received an amount of land that was supposed to be the equivalent of the common land they had used. But still, this changed the distribution of labor by taking many people out of agriculture. Groups such as the Diggers resisted the enclosure of their lands. (see song to left.)

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