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Re: 1841 housing & rose tinted glasses

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Re: 1841 housing & rose tinted glasses

Postby suesqueezel » Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:00 pm


I have recently been looking into the social history as background for my investigations into my ancestors. I feel that you had forgotten to take your rose tinted glasses off with article on housing in the 1840’s. The poorest had to cram a whole family into one room. While there was various bits of legislation passed around this time, it would be many years before it had an impact on the housing the poor had to cope with – and the poor made up the majority of the population. London continued to have outbreaks of typhoid etc into the 1860’s and it was only when the MP’s found the stench in Parliament to be unbearable that anything was done in London. In other cites, there were stories of homes being flooded, when the open drains overflowed. The mortality rate was such that life expectancy in the cities was much lower than in the previous century.

Life in the countryside was little better, though the lower population density resulted in a higher life expectancy. The cottages that labourers lived in invariably had earth floors, poor sanitation. Inside, the haze of smoke from the open fire usually obscuring everything.

The rural population was also much fitter and healthier than those in the towns. The metropolitan police obtained most of their recruits from the countryside, as did the army. With the fall in the agricultural workforce in the later years of the century, concerns were raised, about where future recruits would come from and what steps could be taken to keep the labourers on the land, though these came to little.

I’ve found that my ancestors on my father’s side at this time were agricultural labourers, my GG grandfather was probably living on the farm, along with several other labourers and farm servants with the farmer’s family, outside of Usk, Monmouthshire. His father was a labourer in the village of Buckholt outside of Monmouth
I would recommend a visit to St Fagan’s Museum, outside Cardiff, for anyone interest in seeing how our ancestors lived and how housing developed over the years. They have a wide range of rural and urban housing including whole a row of iron workers cottages from Merthyr.

Sue
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RE: Re: 1841 housing & rose tinted glasses

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:23 pm

Personally speaking I would sooner see how the ag labs lived rather than better off members of society as I feel that most readers would have ag lab roots somewhere along the line.

With fashions too - show us how ordinary people dressed - not just the gentry please.
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RE: Re: 1841 housing & rose tinted glasses

Postby suesqueezel » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:03 am

Yes, most of our ancestors were agricultural labourers at some time - up until the 1850's, there were more people employed in the countryside than in the towns. The problem is that most of them left few records - baptisms, marriageand death, the baptism of their children can add some information about where and what they were doing, but other than this, information remained scarce until the 1851 census. With luck, a record of renting a garden plot may help to colour in their lifes - I found that my GGG Grandfather, Anthony Hawkings, rented a garden on the 1850 Monmouth Tithe map (thanks to Mike John for putting it online). Most of the general information has to come from rural museums and writtings of the time (such as Cobbett).
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