Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Changes in England 1700-1850: The Industrial and Farming Revolutions, Plus a System for Classifying Cloud Types was Invented

We have been learning about the changes in England brought about by the Industrial Revolution. Using the instructions found here, (I first saw it at Journey Into Unschooling), we laid out two large sheets of paper (15 x 20 inches each)  and built towns in England as they progressed from 100 to 1850. I gave the older students the task of building a town of their own design, knowing in advance how many buildings they would need to build and of what type. The younger students, on the other hand, were given instructions on what to add according to the growth patterns of how the towns actually grew.

This is a rural village. Three out of every four Englishmen lived in small villages like this one and were poor farmers. Home life and work life was closely integrated as most work was done in nearby fields, in the home or adjoining workshop. Villages were connected by a system of dirt roads Firewood and coal were the primary fuel. Nearly every English village had a coal mining operation.

A couple of enterprising young capitalists, James and Quentin, decided to invest money in the construction of a canal. This reduced the cost of transportation -coal could now be transported from the mines to towns for half the price of horse and wagon transportation. Making a tidy profit, James and Quentin were able to buy nice homes.

There is a population explosion due to the fact that the Bubonic Plague which for centuries has wiped out the villages, has been virtually eliminated.

The people of the village need more food and goods to meet the needs on the new inhabitants.

Usborne Encyclopedia of World History
Jethro Tull's seed drill and the horse drawn cultivator has brought about a revolution in agricultural methods. Farmers can get more from their land by crop rotation, fertilizing and new livestock breeding techniques.
A area called the commons is reserved.

Richard Arkwright invents a new machine, called the Water Frame, that can spin and weave cloth a hundred times faster than it could be done by hand. It is called a Water Frame because it is powered by water and therefore was built by the river.

Workers are needed to work in this new factory, and people move to the village who are in need of jobs.

Due to the success of the factory, more new factories are built, and the unemployed workers from surrounding areas flood into town looking for work. Housing is in such demand that a new kind of housing, called the Tenements, in which a dozens of families live under one roof, are built.

The increase in population creates a need for places for people to eat, shop, drink and worship. Stores, pubs, churches and schools are built.

Working from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm only makes people want to go by the pub after work for relaxation. Alcohol begins to be consumed throughout England in record amounts.

The income between the workers and the factory owners widens. The nouveau riche factory owners begin to enjoy the comforts that only the aristocratic class of England had enjoyed previously. A management position now comes into being as the factory owners want to be more removed from the actual management of the factories and can afford to hire people to manage the factories. Trees are being removed to give enough space for houses for this new middle class.

James Watt invents the steam engine and this replaces the Water Frame because it is more efficient. It allows the factory to be built away from the river as well. The factories emit smoke, however.

Henry Cort invents the "puddling process," which makes coal the primary fuel in the new iron industry. A new iron bridge replaces the old wooden one.

The demand for coal creates the need for more coal mines. Children between the ages of 8-14 work in the mines. Casualty rates go up and more hospitals are needed.

The existing canals and dirt roads cannot accommodate the heavy traffic. The Steam Engine proves to be quite useful. The town builds a railroad that connects the coal mines and the factories.

Usborne Encyclopedia of World History

This draws more people to the town. The factories hired women and children who accept lower wages. The men become depressed, angry and ashamed and begin to turn to crime and staying at the pub. Alcoholism reaches epidemic proportions.

Usborne Encyclopedia of World History

Factory accidents are frequent. The potato famine in Ireland drives the Irish to England, who are hired to build more railroads. The middle class, which emerged from the management positions, begin to want a cultural life and begins to frequent museums, theater, the opera, restaurants and concerts. They also send their children to private schools.

Pollution from the factories is finally taking its toll on the town. Everything is covered with a layer of soot. The river is now unfit for drinking, washing or laundry. Disease becomes rampant. This is the completed map of their town in England, 1850.

Meanwhile the older students have drawn their map, having the benefit of the ability to plan their town as they wished, came up with this plan. We noted that they separated their housing into different classes, with all the poor housing together and all the rich separated into their own neighborhood. We also noted that their housing was very close together, much like the townhouse subdivisions of today.
We put both maps, side by side so that we could compare them. For our time spent (a couple of hours), the boys learned more about the effects of the Industrial Revolution in a way I believe that they will never forget.

We also learned that in 1803 a British pharmacist named Luke Howard devised a system for classifying clouds into three main forms or types: cirrus from the Latin word for a lock or wisp of hair; cumulus, meaning a pile or heap and stratus, from the Latin for layered or spread out. Later scientists added alto, meaning high and nimbus, Latin for dark rain cloud, to create a classification system of ten major cloud formations that is still in use today. Click here to make your own Cloud Chart based on his system.


  1. This was fascinating. I REALLY enjoyed reading it and can see what benefit such an activity would be. I wonder if there is a book that similarly shares about the industrial revolution in America. If not... I may just tackle the idea on my own. Very interesting!

    Blessings, Debbie

  2. This is a very neat idea! I bet the boys will remember this always. It reminds me of the "A ___ Through Time" books (like "A Street Through Time")

  3. This is just chocked full of great ideas. I love it. I am going to check out the link you mentioned.

    Also the books that Susan just mentioned in her comment sounds good too. I always love seeing what you and your boys are doing!

  4. Love the way you are always able to bring in other subject areas into your history lessons. Wonderful work! Thank you for sharing.


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