Famous Factories of the Industrial Revolution
Factories flourished during the Industrial Revolution. Some factories and mills have become famous. Places where breakthroughs took place are famed. Other places were notable for the way in which they organised the workplace, or in the way that they treated workers. This unit provides a brief overview of several of these famous factories of the Industrial Revolution.
Sir Titus Salt was a wealthy mill owner in Bradford. Over a period of time he began to realise that the working conditions in the city were affecting his workers performance. Many of the workers were ill, they were unhappy with the dirt and noise in the factories and living in slum conditions At the time, many people were dying an early death due to disease. Salt chose to build a new factory outside of Bradford. At this site, now called Saltaire, he built a massive mill. Salt’s Mill could perform all of the necessary functions in processing alpaca wool. The mill itself is unusual in that it has built into it several features designed to improve conditions for the workers. For example the chimney for this factory was much higher than most Bradford mills. It had a filter on it to reduce the amount of smoke entering the air. This was a far cry from the wretched conditions in Bradford.
Salt went further still though. He not only built a state of the art mill, but a new village for his workers to live in. This village had parks, a hospital, school, meeting rooms and a library. Salt even provided Almshouses for the elderly or those recovering from illness. Many of his workers even had gardens! One of the main differences between Salt’s new village and the Slums of Bradford is the amount of open space incorporated into the villages design. The roads are wide, the houses are not crammed on top of each other and there are many grassed areas built into the design of the village. Disease was less likely as the air was cleaner and sanitation was provided: Saltaire had gutters and much more hygienic toileting facilities than other towns and cities. Living and Working conditions in model villages such as Saltaire were much better than in overcrowded towns and mills.
Coalbrookdale is famed for its iron works. The site was developed by Abraham Darby who recognised the potential of the location. It lay close to the River Severn and so was ideal for exporting goods. Iron mines were close by and so the iron works could receive the raw materials with ease. There was also a good supply of Coal to keep his furnaces burning. His developments were built upon by his son and grandson who improved the quality of the iron produced. Inventors and entrepeneurs such as the Darby family generated much wealth.