England was one of the top three elite nations when it comes to the Industrial Revolution, Manchester taking direct effect from this and quickly became one of the leading textile centers of not only the continent but the world (Document 1). This rise to greatness in the textile industry came with a large change in population which sounds good for the city but came with huge disadvantages such as the loss of beauty within the city limits, environmental issues such as pollution, and the overall worsening of the qualities of lives for people living in the city.
Probably the greatest negative effect on this revolution on the state of the city of Manchester was both the decline of aesthetic value and increase of pollution, both stemming from the booming textile industry in the city. People would often look in from outside the city and be amazed at the somber look of the town; smog covered the skyline, blackened houses were everywhere, and overall the streets were lifeless (Document 2). For the more well informed, the issue of pollution was even scarier. Edwin Chadwick, a public health reformer, issues of bad ventilation, overpopulation, and general filth of the city and its public areas (Document 6). The textile industries boom negatively effected many areas of Manchester including education, happiness of citizens, and the overall health. However, Wheelan and Co. put out a preface to a business directory in 1852 in which they described the royal charter as the workshop of the world, claiming Manchester to have remarkable and attractive features and its inhabitants were energetic and had the spirit of enterprising and commerce within them (Document 9). Being a business with success as its main priority, it is easy to embellish the facts to create a favorable environment in which people to work and live in.
The overall filth in Manchester not only led to pollution, but also led to a number of horrifying ailments. The surge of population meant that living quarters were quite cramped (Document 1). Diseases spread like never before and simple sicknesses that people shouldn’t have to worry about became citywide pandemics killing many at a time. In a report on sanitary conditions by Edwin Chadwick, the death toll in mid nineteenth century Manchester due to the sub par living conditions was higher than that of times of war (Document 6). Thomas B. Macauley, a member of parliament, claimed that the overall wellness of the residents of Manchester had improved due to the national wealth increasing in which textile manufacturing produced (Document 3). This sounds great but what must be kept in mind is that government officials often placed money over issues of the people because thats what effected the members directly, proving this statement to be one of fiction. Similarly, William Alexander Abram wrote in a 1868 journal article that the morality rate in the city has been reduced significantly. Claiming that the city was laundered with public parks, baths, and free libraries to promote the general wellness of the people (Document 10). This was quickly disproven in an article by Thomas Wakley, a medical reformer. Wakley published that the average age of death in every single field of work was significantly lower in the urban environment of Manchester compared to rural areas/small towns (Document 8).
With the decline of the living conditions in Manchester, the overall morale it’s inhabitants also dropped. Even the commonest outsider eye could see the somber and sad look not only upon the city but the people within (Document 5). Robert Southey, an English romantic poet, wrote that the city was dreary and the people were even more sad. The workers were so miserable that they could barely scrape together the effort to even attend church when the bell rang through the city, over the constant buzzing of machinery in factories (Document 2). Flora Tristan, a women rights advocate, stated that the comfort and welfare of workers never entered the head of the creators of this city. The city was built off of capitalistic venues and ideologies (Document 7). Since many factory workers were men, it is quite impressive that a women rights activist would take a stance on this subject.
Due to these reasons, the increase of Manchester’s textile manufacturing put a heavy negative impact on the overall wellbeing of the citizens and the physical city.