Classes of the Industrial Revolution

The classes of the industrial revolution were separated under four titles: the upper class, middle class, working class, and under class.

The Upper Class.

The people born in the upper class are those who were children of high powers. A lazy, rich king would more likely be in the upper class rather than a hard working millionaire. They lived in country houses, town houses, or villas that were abroad. Boys went to Eton or Harrow, had tutors, and went to Oxford or Cambridge. Girls would be taught by governess’ to be lady like, and prepared for marriage. Only a few girls were aloud to join boarding school and enter university at the end of the 19 century. Boys-usually the younger ones-joined the army or navy, whilst the eldest normally inherited his father’s estates and heredity titles. As for leisure, the upper class went hunting, fishing, shooting, and took the grand tour of Europe. When summer came about, the upper class family would go to London to live the social life-dance, theater, and parties. This would start in May, then end in July. During August through November Lords went to their country homes, were they would shoot geese and stag for hunting season. When winter swept the rest of the year, families went abroad.

The aristocracy began dominating the government at the start of the 19 century. But the Reform Acts of 1832, 1867 and 1884 showed that they were losing their political power. In 1865 half of the members of parliament came from landed backgrounds, but numbers went down to only a quarter in 1885.

The Middle Class.

Unlike the upper class, the middle class had to work. Fortunately for them, they did not have to do manual labor-from rich lawyers and bankers, through teachers and engineers, all the way to shoe keepers and shop clerks. Most middle class men created their wealth in self made business. Woman rarely worked, but the most of the few that did did so to support their husbands. The upper class and middle class were not always separate, since middle class businessmen would often socialize with the aristocracy. Some middle class men managed to join the upper class by becoming knights.  They lived in the suburbs, and-as well as the poorest of the middle class-had servants.

The middle class had the right to vote after the 1832 Reform Act. Many took an interest in politics, which led to middle class town councilors, poor law guardians, ect. As the century went on, some middle class woman got an education at Newnham College. The very first Cambridge University for woman was founded in 1874. Some woman became involved in the woman’s suffrage movement.

The Working Class.

At the start of the 19 century few poor people received an education, until the 1880 education Act really turned the tables by making board schools compulsory. At the start of the 19 century, children worked under terrible conditions in factories, but the 1832 factory act prohibited children under nine to work. Children were good for the job, since they did not go on strikes, they got payed less, and the could crouch under small spaces such as coal mines. In 1842 the Mines act stopped woman, girls and boys from working in mines under the age of ten. The 1847 ten hour act limited woman and children working for more than 58 hours a week. The poor town dwellers had to live in slums, deteriorating their poor living conditions. Living in these slums caused the cholera out break, because people would use the toilet outside, leaving feces to leak into the drinking water pipes.

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