Slums & Tenements


  • How Did Slums form?
- New technology and inventions transformed an agricultural and commercial way of life in the 19th century into a industrial society. The Industrial Revolution changed families and lifestyles. Factories drew workers away from their homes and into large cities.

- The poor people who worked in the factories moved into the slums which were big building with many people living in them.

- These slums were overcrowded and not a healthy living situation.


  • Living Conditions in the slums

-Slums were very dirty and messy; there was often trash on the ground throughout the whole building.

-There were also large numbers of rats running around in these buildings.

-The living was very crammed, there would be many people living in an area to fit maybe two people comfortably. In some situations a whole family would have to live in a single room.

-Crime and alcoholism were very big problems and since everyone lived so close together it effected everyone in the tenement.

- There wasn' t any indoor plumbing so the whole tenement and slum often had to use one outhouse. This was very unhealthy mainly for children.

- Jacob ris described them as:
" Look into any of these houses, everywhere the same...... Here is a "flat" or "parlor" and two pitch-dark coops called bedrooms... One, two, three beds are there, if the old boxes and heaps of foul straw can be called by that name; a broken stove with crazy pipe from which the smoke leaks at every joint, a table of rough boards propped up on boxes, piles of rubbish in the corner. The closeness and smell are appalling. How many people sleep here? The woman with the red bandanna shakes her head sullenly, but the bare-legged girl with a bright face counts on her fingers.... "Six, sir!"

  • Pollution

- Because these slums and tenement houses were very close to the factories the air pollution was very high. This caused for high amounts of disease.

- This was a major problem because most of these people were poor and did not have much money to get medical help, which means if they were to end up getting sick they would have a high chance of dieing.

  • Jobs
- Almost all of the people living in the slums worked in the factories. That includes the parents and the children.

- One of the main reasons why these people could not move out of the tenement houses and slums is because they had to work for these factories and the tenement homes made it easier for them to get to work everyday and the factory owners often forced them to live in the tenement homes if they were going to be working in the factory.

- Children working in the factories was very dangerous. The machines they were working with could badly injure them and in some cases they would be chained to the machines and forced to work long 12 hour days.

- Although later in the industrial revolution the working hours for children was limited the machinarey never became less dangerous.


  • Bibliography

ABC-CLIO Social Studies Databases: Login. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <>.
"Diseases in industrial cities in the Industrial Revolution." History Learning Site. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <>.
"HOUSING OF THE WORKING CLASSES ACT (1890) AMENDMENT BILL. (Hansard, 10 May 1900)." HANSARD 1803&ndash;2005. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <>.
"Industrial Revolution, England." Placer Union High School District. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <>.
"Industrialrevolution." Center for Technology and Teacher Education. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <>.
"Lecture 17: The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England." The History Guide -- Main. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <>.
"Libertarian Opinion On English Slums During 19th Century England? - The Mises Community." Ludwig von Mises Institute - Homepage. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <>.

Primary Sources:

"The Industrial Age: The industrial Revolution in Europe " - Riss, Jacob
"Prentice Hall: World History" - Elisabeth Gaynor Ellis and Anthony Esler