The Manufacturing Districts

Life in 1850. On the ground reporting from the heartlands of the Industrial Revolution.

Labour and the Poor Volume V - The Manufacturing Districts eBook Cover


Labour and the Poor Volume V: The Manufacturing Districts


Angus B. Reach


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ISBN (Hardback):


ISBN (Paperback):




Angus B. Reach’s evocative and beautifully described journey takes us to the heart of industrial Britain, inside the factories, down the mines, and into the homes of the working classes in the Northern and Midland counties of England. He takes us into the mills and cellars of Manchester and on an evening out in this cotton metropolis. We explore laudanum and the drugging of children, go into the homes and mills of the silk weavers, to the Yorkshire woollen factories, the Leeds flax mills, to the mines of Northumberland and Durham and on to the Staffordshire potteries and mines. This and much more.

The north was the great wealth-creating area of the country, fortunes were being made here and the textile manufacture in cotton from the United States and wool from home was clothing the world.

The investigation into the working class people in the manufacturing districts ran to 32 letters. The first letter was published on October 18th, 1849, the final one on February 15th, 1850. Angus B. Reach was the “Special Correspondent” for The Morning Chronicle tasked with the investigation and his first letter was the inaugural one of the entire nationwide “Labour and the Poor” series. He provides fascinating accounts of the people, their living and working conditions, and the manufacturing processes they were involved in.

The in-depth investigation into the manufacturing districts covered:⁠—

  • Lancashire
  • Yorkshire
  • Northumberland and Durham
  • Staffordshire Mines and Potteries
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Derbyshire
  • Leicestershire
  • Sheffield

The Table of Contents for Volume V is shown below but for a better appreciation of the material we suggest previewing the Print Edition Sample which includes the Table of Contents, a sample letter, and the Index.

Labour and the Poor Volume V: The Manufacturing Districts

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Letter I.
    • Manchester.
    • Introduction.
  • Letter II.
    • Manchester.
    • The Cotton Mills.
  • Letter III.
    • Manchester.
    • The Dwellings of the Cotton Workers.
  • Letter IV.
    • Bolton.
    • The Social Condition of the Workers.
  • Letter V.
    • Manchester.
    • The Sanitary Conditions.
  • Letter VI.
    • Manchester.
    • The General, Moral, and Educational Condition of the Manchester Operative.
  • Letter VII.
    • Ashton-under-Lyne.
    • The Town and its Inhabitants—An Evening Out in Manchester.
  • Letter VIII.
    • Oldham, and the Low Lodging-Houses of Manchester.
    • A Walk Around Oldham—The Lodging-Houses and Cellar-Dwellings of Manchester.
  • Letter IX.
    • Manchester.
    • The Sunday Schools—Laudanum and the Drugging of Children.
  • Letter X.
    • The Ten Hours Bill.
    • The Views of the Workpeople—The Relay System.
  • Letter XI.
    • Macclesfield and the Silk Trade.
    • Inside the Silk Mills and Homes of the Domestic Weavers.
  • Letter XII.
    • The Silk-Weavers of Middleton.
    • Conversations with the Weavers.
  • Letter XIII.
    • The Rural Cloth Workers of Yorkshire.
    • Saddleworth.
  • Letter XIV.
    • The Cloth Districts of Yorkshire.
    • The Huddersfield Fancy Goods, and the Dewsbury “Shoddy” Mills.
  • Letter XV.
    • The “Stuff” Districts of Yorkshire.
    • Halifax and Bradford.
  • Letter XVI.
    • The Woollen and Flax Districts.
    • Leeds.
  • Letter XVII.
    • The Woollen and Flax Districts.
    • Leeds.
  • Letter XVIII.
    • The Coal-Field of Northumberland and Durham.
    • Introduction.
  • Letter XIX.
    • The Coal-Field of Northumberland and Durham.
    • What a Coal Pit is.
  • Letter XX.
    • The Mining Districts of Durham and Northumberland.
    • The Life of a Coal Miner.
  • Letter XXI.
    • The Mining Districts of Northumberland and Durham.
    • The Miners’ Union and the Education and Amusements of the People.
  • Letter XXII.
    • The Mining Districts of Northumberland and Durham.
    • “Regulation”, Strikes and Evictions.
  • Letter XXIII.
    • The Staffordshire Collieries.
    • The South Staffordshire Coal-Field and its Inhabitants.
  • Letter XXIV.
    • The Staffordshire Collieries and the Truck System.
    • The Pitmen’s Dwellings and the Effects of the Truck System.
  • Letter XXV.
    • Nottingham and the Lace Trade.
    • Housing, Sanitation and The Lace-Making Process.
  • Letter XXVI.
    • The Hosiery Trade in Nottingham.
    • Framework Knitting and the Condition of the Hosiery Workers.
  • Letter XXVII.
    • Derby.
    • The Textile Industry.
  • Letter XXVIII.
    • Leicester and the Woollen Hosiery Trade.
    • Branches of the Trade and Condition of the Workers.
  • Letter XXIX.
    • The Staffordshire Potteries.
    • The Manufacturing Processes.
  • Letter XXX.
    • The Potteries.
    • The Dwellings and Habits of the People.
  • Letter XXXI.
    • The Potteries.
    • “Pottersville” and the Potters’ Emigration Society.
  • Letter XXXII.
    • Sheffield.
    • Its History, Housing and Health of the Population.
  • Angus B. Reach
  • Index   ** print editions only **

For anyone interested in family history or social history, the “Labour and the Poor” series really is an invaluable resource.