- There was no shortage of human labour in Victorian Britain.
- Industrialists did not want to introduce machines as it required large capital investment and there was plenty of labour.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
People on the move in search of work, the illustrated London News, 1879.
- Poor peasants and vagrants (a wanderer) moved to the cities in large numbers in search of jobs .
- Industries where production fluctuated with the season, industrialists usually preferred hand labour, employing workers for the season .
- The demand in the market was often goods with intricate designs and specific shapes which c an only be done with hand labour .
- Hand-made products came to symbolize refinement and class.
2.1 Life of the Workers
- The lives of the workers was affected by the abundance of labour in the market.
- One can only get a job if the person had networks of friendships and kin relations .
HOMELESS AND HUNGRY
Homeless and hungry, painting by Samuel Luke Fildes, 1874.
- The painting depicts how the homeless in London apply for tickets to stay overnight in the workhouse.
- Many job seekers had to wait weeks, spending nights under bridges or in night shelters . Some stayed in Night Refuges that were set up by private individuals.
- Seasonality of work in many industries meant prolonged periods without work.
- It was challenging to get a job till the mid-nineteenth century.
- The fear of unemployment made workers hostile to the introduction of new technology.
- Spinning Jenny was introduced in the wollen industry.
a shallow underground railway being constructed in central London, Illustrated Times, 1868
- After the 1840s, building activity intensified in the cities , opening up greater employment opportunities.
- From the 1850s railway began coming up all over London.