Posted by Ken on February 04, 1998 at 10:58:13:
In response to What would you do?, written by Helen on February 04, 1998 at 07:10:08
] I was waffling on about the industrial revolution in answer to Ayelet below, and the thought struck me: what would you rather do if you were working class in JA's England - work as a servant in a Big House (or in a little one), or be independent and work in a factory? Or work from home, or be on a farm?
Early factories soon became horror shows, even if they didn't start that way. Long hours, extremes of heat and cold, very poor illumination, subject to fires & accidents, and, worst of all, a regulated way of life wholly unnatural to a species evolved without a strict dependence on the clock for thousands of millenia. All my reading suggests that health/life expectancy of factory workers was much worse than for agricultural laborers. True, one tended to work all the daylight hours on a farm--tough in summer--but there were no deadlines of the same nature as in factory jobs, and the work was healthier. You probably ate better, too.
I don't know how healthy servants were, but given the incessant movement of Enclosure, they probably had more security than ag labor or small farm tenants.
It's worth bearing in mind that one of the currents leading to the Victorian overprotection/repression of women was the recoil at seeing women working in the appalling conditions of the early factories.
- Servitude Erin 21:44:54 2/04/98 (0)
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