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Pathfinder Pack on Urbanisation: The Move to the City in the 19th Century



The 19th Century saw migration from the country to the cities and towns on a scale never seen before. With the coming of the railways, the huge demand for iron products, and the necessary mining of coal to supply the raw materials, towns and cities sprang up at an incredible rate. In 1800, the population of Scotland was approximately 1.6 million people. By 1900, it had risen to almost 4.5 million. A lot of this increase was down to the migrant workers from Ireland, Wales, England and beyond. In the late 19th Century, immigrant workers came from a far away as Poland and Lithuania to find work. The population of Glasgow grew from 147,000 in1800 to 761,000 in 1900. These people all needed somewhere to live. The housing had to be close enough to the place of employment so they could walk to their work. Many factory owners built houses next to the factories. The houses were badly overcrowded, in most cases in cities entire families lived, ate and slept in one room. In some areas, this practice went on until well into the 20th Century. A major problem arising from the sudden influx of people into rapidly expanding cities and towns was health and hygiene, in particular the spread of disease. The nation-wide cholera outbreak of 1832 was a major problem for the health boards in cities, the disease spread so rapidly that all the medical profession could do was try to warn people of it, and issue notices on what to do when it struck. Cholera killed quickly, a person showing the symptoms of the disease in the morning would more than likely be dead by nightfall. It wasn't just cities which expanded; many people moved from the country into towns. The impact of the coalfields on Motherwell meant that from a base of 2,200 in 1851, the town's population had risen to 13,000 by 1881. In the same period, the number of miners employed in Motherwell swelled from 100 to 1,000 workers. The Statistical Account for Scotland, published in 1845, gave a breakdown of population, employment, housing conditions, who had the right to vote and general descriptions of every part of the country. Edinburgh had had a house-building boom in the late 1820s and early 1830s, which resulted in too many houses for the population. The Statistical Account relates that '┬ůsince 1827 very little extension of the city or suburbs has taken place'. The author continues that house rents have decreased as a result and so many of the streets remain incomplete due to the decrease in revenue. The population of Edinburgh including Leith in 1821 was 138,235. The population of the parish of Slamannan changed rapidly in the 19th century due to coal mines being opened and then worked out. In 1801 the population was 900. Forty years later, it had only grown to 1000. Forty years after that, it was at almost 6,000. at the end of the century, it was just above 5,000, and falling.

Urbanisation: The Move to the City in the 19th Century

Overcrowded Houses City Life Living in Tenements
Hints Respecting Cholera Colliery Edinburgh District
Slamannan Village
Scran ID: 000-000-001-448-L
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