You have now seen all the evidence and extracts from this learning module relevant to examination of the change from domestic to factory production.
You have seen something of how peoples’ lives were transformed by technological development. Can you think of similar examples from other periods or places?
There are various ways in which you can continue this study of these immense changes.
We must beware of idealising the world of the domestic system, where great poverty and suffering could take place. However, the new world of the factory involved concentrations of long hours and dangerous conditions. Factories increasingly used the more easily trained labour force of children until they were in such numbers that demands grew to restrict child labour. As factories were increasingly powered by steam rather than water, they became concentrated in towns. Child labour became more obvious, and social commentators began to take issue with the increasingly unhealthy urban lifestyle, as seen in the following story.
SCENE: Cottonopolis: A wonder of the age
Such industrial expansion drew in people from the surrounding countryside and led to growing concentrations of people in places such as Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Further reading around the development of the textile industries can be found in a number of related modules. You can read more about the location of the textile industries, the industry at its peak, and its decline in the inter-war years.