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In the 1700s, small farms existed in whole England. After some time, wealthy landowners bought lands, owned by the village farmers, This increased their landholdings enabling them to cultivate larger farms. These wealthy farmers drastically improved the farms by introducing new farming methods resulting to agricultural renovation.
On purchase of these lands, the wealthy farmers enclosed the farms with hedges or fences to form enclosures. Inside the enclosures, the landowners experimented with productive seedlings and improved harvesting techniques with an aim of boosting their crop yields. In addition to purchase of their lands, the large farm owners forced the small farmers to be tenants’ farmers or move to the cities.
One of the scientific farmers Jethro Tull, invented the seed drill in 1701 to reduce the wastage of seeds in the sowing stage which was traditionally done by scattering the seeds. The seed drill allowed farmers to sow seeds in rows that were well spaced and at specific depth measurements. This resulted to a large share of the seeds taking root and highly boosted the yields. Crop rotation also enabled farmers to farm a certain crop for a period and later introducing another type of crop in the farm after the soil nutrients are exhausted. This crop rotation proved one of the best developments by the scientific farmers in these enclosures.
Livestock breeding improved in the 1700s, an example was the breeding of sheep where breeders allowed only the best sheep breeds to breed. This increased the mutton yields greatly with the weight of lambs increasing from 18 pounds to 50 pounds by 1786.
As food and the living conditions improved, the population increased greatly boosting the demand for food and other goods such as cloth. This massive production of food reduced the mortality rate and greatly improved the health of population.
Technology revolution stimulated the industrial revolution in Britain. The revolution started in the textile industry where inventions transformed the manufacturing of cloths in the late 1700. The demand for clothing was a result of the boom in population caused by the increase in agriculture. The developments were not only in Britain but were in the whole world. The cotton to Britain came from American South plantations where the production had shot up in 1800s. This production was in response to the great demand by the English cloth mills.
In 1705, the steam engine invention was an improvement from the hand-driven shuttle machine, where fire heated water produced steam, used to drive the engines. Due to the bulkiness of these machines, weaving was set in large buildings known as factories, which were first build near rivers since they needed much water for the waterpower.
James Watt made these steam engines run fast and be more efficient and the factories built anywhere, since engines ran on coal rather than power from rivers. This led to springing up of factories and towns near the coalmines in the north of Britain. Boats and trains using steam engines came allowing business people to transport and market goods faster.
Impact of Industrialization in Manchester’s Living Condition
Manchester was an English town in the north, which derived its unique advantages from the fact that it had ready access to waterpower hence a leading example of the industrial city. Manchester had readily available labor from its nearby countryside and had a passage to the sea in Liverpool. Manchester’s growth was rapid and unplanned, making it an unhealthy place for the poor who worked and lived here. The city was filthy with lot of garbage that was a source of diseases.
Manchester business owners profited much from their undertakings by risking their money and efforts. The returns were hence much and were able to build magnificent homes on the town outcasts. To provide these mill owners with the huge profits, workers labored under harsh conditions with powerful machines that killed or caused accidents to many people. The young ones also joined their parents to work in the factories. The industries put up in one place polluted the natural environment, the coal used for power in the factories blackened the air, while the textile dyes poisoned rivers.
The work was too much hence; the workers worked 14 hours for six days in a week with only a half hour break for lunch and dinner. Children repaired broken threads in the spinning machines, replaced bobbin threads, or swept up cotton fluffs. These fluffs affected their lungs causing them cough, some machines that were dangerous, injured them as they wound the bobbins and to keep the children awake for the long working hours, the supervisors would beat them. The child labor control Act passed in 1819 and restricted the children working age and the number of hours in the factories.
Production of Clothes in Britain Before 1700
Before the industrial revolution, textiles production took place at home. Women contributed in the process of carding and spinning while men warped, sized, and wove the warp into cloth. The materials used were cotton, wool, flax, and silk.
Due to the slowness of the process and low quality cloths, the production failed to meet the demand for the growing population having the need for a faster and better production system. This led to the invention of the steam machine in 1700s, which later improved to use of coal other than water making the production fast and efficient.
Despite the positive changes, many of the spinners became jobless due to the stiff competition from the factories that could only be owned by the well up due to the high costs of the required machines. Many jobs in the factories had poor production environment in regard to their health inside the factories and on the surroundings due to poor sanitation. The owners of the businesses belonged to rich classes of society.
Modern Process of Producing Clothes
Bast fibers are some of the raw materials used in cloth making. Cut hemps are laid to dry for four days, steam and machinery are used to separate the fibre. A process referred to as thermo-mechanical pulping. Retting, which involves the separation of fibre from the woody part through microbial action takes place. After retting, the stems are washed and subjected to a mechanical processing in order to remove the soft tissue and then taken to drying so make sure all the remains are fibers. The fibers are now ready to make clothes.