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Other Humanitarian Movements


  • The Industrial Revolution in England brought up the problems of health and sanitation.

  • Industrial town like Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds has many factories and so well populated with the high risk of diseases.

  • Many kinds of diseases came to existence. Among them Small Pox was considered the deadliest. It ruined beauty and life.

  • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu – introduced inoculation from Turkey and an inoculation hospital in London.

  • Jenner- discovered vaccination.

  • Lying-in hospitals were established where people can stay till they are cured.

  • After 1700, not less than 154 hospitals were built.


  • Captain Coram- could not endure the sight of babies lying deserted in streets.

  • He worked to establish hospital for these children.

  • Handel and Hogarth assisted him.

  • After long years in 1745 a hospital was opened.


  • General Oglethorpe- drew attention of the public to the scandal of debtor’s prisons.

  • In 1729- he induced the Parliament to make investigations into the horrors of the prisoners in Fleet Street and Marshalsea.

  • John Howard and Elizabethan Fry are the other humanitarians who worked for the improvement of prisoners.

  • Yet it continued to be the National disgrace.


  • English legal system was in chaos.

  • Many minor crimes where punished to death.

  • Almost two hundreds were put to death.

  • Horse stealing, coining, stealing in a shop even 5 shilling were treated with death punishment.

  • Robert Peele in 1829 introduced the Police System throughout the country to maintain order and peace.


  • England was involved in slave trade since 1700s after the establishment of American Colonies.

  • Early as 1771, 53 ships from London, 23 ships from Bristol and 107 ships from Liverpool transported 50,000 slaves that year.

  • Goods were sold in exchange for slaves.

  • This happened close to the textile industry of Lancashire.

  • English cotton was sold well as there were brought by the masters to clothe their slaves. (this trade went on for years together without anyone to question)

  • Dr. Johnson- first to object to the slave-trade on moral grounds.

  • Horace Walpole- opposed this inhuman practice.

  • William Wilberforce made Anti-Slavery system popular.

  • After a lot of efforts it was abolished in 1807.

  • The aim was to abolish slavery in all the British colonies.

  • And so the Anti-Slavery propaganda was continued.

  • It was achieved in 1833. The year William Wilberforce died.


  • To deal with the locales Working System was introduced.

  • According to this anyone who does not stay in the workhouses will not be eligible for any relief. This system was a failure.

  • The rapid growth of population decreased the job opportunities.

  • The wages were low and the basic necessities rate was high.

  • To better the situation the Speedhamland Act was passed in 1795.

  • In 1833 a commission was set to study the poor laws and report to the parliament.

  • The corrupt practices of the Poor Law administration came to light.

  • In order to improve labourers and paupers the Poor Law Amendment was passed in 1834.

  • This new system was a great success yet was defective.

  • Again a commission was arranged in 1905 for the same purpose. The team reported in 1909.

  • It was listed the causes of poverty as drunkenness, disease, early and improvident marriages, casual labour, etc.

  • And so children were removed from workhouses.

  • A separate institution was arranged for the aged poor.

  • To reduce unemployment- the Labour Exchange and State Insurance Scheme were recommended.


  • In 1856- William Booth found the Salvation Army. He was popularly known as General Booth.

  • He drew attention of people towards the degraded section of society- the homeless, the unfed, the drunkard, the criminal and the harlot.

  • He emphasized to take care of the material conditions of the poor.


  • This movement helped in eradicating drunkenness as it was evil to society, men, family and the source for many crimes.

  • Great caricaturists of time – Hogarth and George Cruikshank helped the movement with many drawings.

  • George Cruikshank, himself a teetotaler drew a series of horrifying images showing the progress of the love of liquor from the cradle to the grave.

  • This followed to be an organized propaganda to eradicate drunkenness from all classes by The Blue Ribbon Army.

  • Blue ribbon was worn near breasts by people who took pledges.

  • Many volunteers were drawn to this movement and so this had a great influence among people.


  • The policy followed during Industrial Revolution was laissez-faire. (acc to this employers and employees can regulate matters for themselves with little interference from the government)

  • The poor- workers were not able to bargain from their rich masters.

  • The increased demand for English goods met with production hike.

  • And so day and night work became inevitable and women and children were expected to work beyond their intelligence and strength.

  • They were not allowed to organize unions and voice their grievances.

  • Sir William Ashley Cooper, a philanthropist and religious leaders helped to bring this to the notice of authorities.

  • And so various forms of working class associations grew which led to a number of Factory Acts to pass.


Social History of England by Louise Creighton

An Introduction to the Social History of England by A.G.Xavier

A Short History of Social Life in England by M B Synge

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