Back to back houses were especially built for workers. It was the cheapest solution of living. Basically, back to back houses were houses put together or out in a row, with every house sharing at least one wall. Thank to this the creation of the house was way cheaper both considering the amount of materials and land used. It did not take as much time to build up such house either. The circumstances in the back to back house were, unfortunately, terrible. In a 2-room apartment (almost all apartments had that size) up to four families lived. That was way too much. They had to live very tight, as the house really was for one family.
Due to this serious hygienic issues came up. Another problem was the extremely narrow street separating the back to back housing series (following the concept of less land = cheaper). Those streets were very trafficked because of the large amount of workers concentrated in one, small area. Trash was probably the most dangerous and therefore the fundamental problem in the cities during the nineteenth century. Not the fact of it being thrown on the street from the window, but the risk of diseases spreading. Diseases and the large possibility of getting contaminated was a big problem.
The hygiene was at an absurdly low level, hence the great risk of infection. Trash was laying on the streets, not only stinking and blocking the way, but also keeping various viruses inside it and letting those develop. These infections will multiply, since the waste won’t be driven away that often. If one worker would get infected, all people in his flat (4 families) would get infected, who would probably continue working if the are not completely wasted, since they are desperate of money. On their workplace they will infect more people and finally everybody will be contaminated.
Diseases were very common during those times around the industrial revolution. The workers had to throw the trash on the street or into the nearby trash pit (if there was one). The pit was not emptied often either, hence another factor of the great risk of a major worker corruption. An example of this was the Cholera. It was, however spreading through the water. Cholera was a disease infecting large amounts of people in London a bit before the Industrial Revolution. A man, Dr. Snow could finally present his theory from where the disease came from. The place was the water pump on Broad Street, London.
People drank the water without knowing about the serious issue and after some time they all began to feel really bad. A very important cause, which also lead to such a disease was that there was no plumbing system and the water was, as mentioned above, taken from water pump that were not controlled but something that might today be called “National Water Clarity Check”. Dr. Snow revealed the truth about the source and they were able to exclude the pump from the available ones. Since it was a time of bad hygiene, dirt and overall muddy areas the death rates turned to be horrible. Due to the extremely bad conditions the people died early.
Either rapid deaths in their working carrier like a hand cut off by a saw, diseases or just a normal death was possible. A normal death did not end at the age of 70 as it does today. We are rather talking about the age of 40, because of the bad hygiene. The dangerous diseases could also spread easier because people were sharing things as lavatories heightening the possibility of the disease spreading. Attached is a small table showing the statistics of when nobles and workers died in the 19th century. Gentlemen Labourers Wiltshire 50 33 Liverpool 35 15 Manchester 38 17 Leeds 44 19 Bethnal Green 35 15.
The workers low-aged death rate was due to the dirty air and unsuspected accidents. A saw could always accidentally cut a hand of. Fabrics also polluted the air all time. Dire was melting metals and wood. A lot of unhealthy gases came out during the production processes. The water was also being polluted (waste was thrown into rivers and drinking water often came from that source). Trash was therefore thrown not only on the streets, but also into the water, if possible. Looking at this table you can see the clear difference in how the hygiene and housing affected the amount of time a human can live in certain circumstances.
We want better rules and circumstances in our working place! What can the government do about these problems? Surely there was a major flaw to be solved. Some ideas of how the problems could be solved; The pits with waste could be located outside the town and people would be recruited to make sure the trash from the streets would be moved to the pits. Of course this would cost extra money, hence the low interest in that idea. After all taxes were collected and the government could spend some to solve the problem and not only make the society healthier, making them work more, but also happier and positively inclined to the things to be done.
Hospitals should be opened. A good idea would be to open military hospitals with public access. Since war was not an everyday thing before the world wars begun. That way the military hospitals would be available for all people most of the time. We suffer when we are at home, because it is so little space! Buildings should be made higher or in suburbs, where land is cheaper. Areas a bit outside the city with transport to the work possible would be a perfect solution! Waste on the roads will not be tolerated! Year Act Result 1802 The Apprentices Act Maximum working day of 12h. Apprentices given a basic education. 1831.
Cotton Mill Act Children under 18 work 12h a day. Children under 21 not to work at night. Applies to Cotton Mills only. 1833 Factory Act Children 9-13 work maximum 9h/day Children 13-16 work maximum 12h/day. Children under 9 not to work. Education to be given 2h/day. No child under 18 allowed working at night. Everyone under the age of 18 are to have 8,5 days holiday in addition to Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday. 1842 Mines Act No child under 10 to work in a mine. No woman to work in a mine. Inspectors to make sure rules are followed. 1844 Factory Act #2 Women to work 12h a day .maximum.