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Lucy's Diary: A Diary of the Industrial Revolution in England
Transcript of Lucy's Diary: A Diary of the Industrial Revolution in England
Daddy just said maybe I should start by saying who I am.
My name is Lucy Falen.
I'm six years old.
My favourite colour is yellow.
My hair is brown.
My eyes are hazel, but sometimes just look green.
(I think Hazel sounds better though)
I have a big brother named James.
My doggie, Penny, recently died from some sort of sickness.
Oh! And my best friend is Elizabeth, but I call her Lizzy. This is while visiting my cousin Charlotte in London! She showed me where she works. Charlotte's older than me, around 10. I know that Dad never takes holidays. It makes me sad sometimes. But, why would anyone take a holiday while here? Its nothing but messy pig-sties, crying children who are sick from one thing or another, and over worked adults.
The woman was named... Florence Nightengale, I think? According to James, Mrs Nightengale was looking at our village to see what life was like here.
Well, thats easy. Life here is hell. No good, I tell you. Maybe I shouldn't have said that it was hell (Dad doesn't like it when I speak such- says a lady shouldn't be like that).
According to Cousin Charlotte, in the cities girls my age get jobs. I don't want a job, so I suppose that it isn't all that bad here... I think the worst thing about my village is the stench. I can't believe how some of the children act. I hope I wasn't like them when I was their age. You see, they like to play around in the privy. I caught Mrs Carter's little Mary there just yesterday! The poor child is only three, but her older brother Thomas didn't feel like babysitting her. Sometimes I want to smack that boy. He has no business taking his sister into a sty like the privy.
I hope Mrs Nightengale can do something useful with this stuff she is gathering. I wish I could take holidays like her some day, but I don't think that's possible. Dear Diary, Dear Diary, May 13, 1861 February 11, 1849 Mum pulled me asside today. She seemed rather grim, but I was curious as to why. Apparently James and Dad thought it best that we all move to the city. I don't want to move, the city sounds awfully large. And with me gone, who will watch over little Mary Carter?
I suppose it will be for the best, though. After all, at least I will see cousin Charlotte again. It's been many years since I visited her last, and I don't quite remember her (or London).
I shall write again soon. It's only been a few days since we moved to London. When I was back in the village, I thought that London would be large. I had no idea just HOW large it would be!
There are many people here who are like my family. Poor, but able to make a living that barely supports us. James is nearly 30 now. He got a job working for the railroad company today and has left London to go build tracks. I will miss him, but what with all the demand for railways, at least he found a job that is in high demand. The trouble for me and Mum is that machines are beginning to usurp the jobs that we are accustomed to doing. Instead of weaving or sewing, we must learn to opperate machines. It's quite strange, and rather unnevering, to be candid. Mr. Bourke, Mum's boss, said that if she isn't in the factory by five in the morning tomorrow, he'd let her go. It seems that he isn't too worried about finding replacement workers, as everyone needs a job. I just recieved news that I will being working in a textile plant tomorrow. I wonder what this will be like. Dear Diary September 30, 1862 However this doesn't mean that they are without dangers. I've been working only a fortnight, but in that time I've seen a young boy, no older than little Thomas back in the village, get his finger cut off. It was horrid! There are many children in the factories. I was surprised, but the children here work such long hours for so little, and yet they show up each day ready to work.
I had to work in my childhood, this is true. But even I never was climbing on machines, endangering my life each time. I wonder if Cousin Charlotte feared for her life each day? She was only ten, after all, when I visited her. She is like the children here... Dear Diary One thing that the Merchants tell us is that if it weren't for the machines, the clothes we buy would be much more expensive. Maybe this is true, but we only need clothes if we are alive to wear them! I try and hold myself above the taunts and jests and jeers I recieve from the wealthy girls that I sometimes meet on the streets of London. Being a textile worker is one of the lowest of the low jobs. I didn't realize it was so when I first arrived in London (but since I got the job, I doubt I would've rejected it). A girl named Nancy Whyte, also from the factory, told me that she put up with the horrible slander because she had 3 brothers and 1 sister to feed at home and her pay was invaluable. I'm fortunate in that I only must supply for myself and my parents. It's been a few years and I've had my pay reduced multiple times. It hasn't done anything to affect me too tragically, but I fear it's only a matter of time. My mother and I save what we can of our wages for my new nephew, Derek. James married a woman named Edith two years ago and she had a son. We want to be sure he gets an eductation! Without that, he would have very little. Dear Diary March 15, 1877 Thanks to the cheap price of toys at the moment I picked up a little steam train for Nephew Derek. I met the little boy a few days ago when Edith visited London. She was originally from York, and had always wished to visit the city.
Steam engines are incredibly useful, you know. The more I hear about them from my Father, the more I appreciate what they manage to do. Because of their effifiency, cost for production is dramatically reduced, as is time and labor required. Without them, I doubt I'd have been able to afford the little toy for Derek.
One thing I have noticed though is that trained artisans are becoming rather obselete. It seems that factory workers are hiring children, and women, more and more for jobs such as spinning. It seems to me that this is because one can pay a child less than a man, even if it's the same job. Dear Diary June 4, 1880 I've started to become a bit worried about finding a husband. Though my mother tried to teach me when I was younger, I never learned how to weave or spin or do any of the things expected of a wife. Machine have taken that over.
My friend Harriet is in a similar predicament. Neither of us knows how to be a house wife! I've grown up the majority of my life working the machines in a textile factory. I barely even got out to speak with boys my age away from the work place. According to Mum, things used to be different here. She told me that when she was my age, girls had jobs weaving and spinning with their mothers, making a good amount of money for the family. Mum mentioned that the machines are taking over those jobs, and so now work is scarce for girls my age. How can I expect to teach my future children how to work and be a good wife if I myself do not know how. I will be a failure of a parent! I shall never find a husband. My life will be reduced to working in this dirty, dangerous factory. Dear Diary July 17, 1887 Something I've noticied while working in the factories concerned me greatly.
It seems to me that there is an issue of abuse between the men and boys that work their and the young teenage girls. Many of the owners of such factories are unmarried men who hang among the teenagers all day, with no adult women to watch them.
I fear there may be something going on that is more than meets the eye... Each day I live in this city I begin to distrust it. I long for the days when I was just Lucy Falen of Longstead. The world was so much simpler back then. Now I look out my flat and I see grey. Grey smoke. Grey buildings. Grey skies. It's as though nature itself has been marred by the industries that have sprouted up around me. I long for the days when I could look out to Sea and watch as the ships would float into port. My Father would take me there sometimes. However, by the time I was 8 or 9, Father was to busy with work to go on holidays away from the village.
I pity the generations to come. England will be lost, and a grey, urban forest will be left in the wake of the machines. Poets and songwriters will lament of the days when green fields and rolling hills dominated the country side. How I wish I had lived longer in those years! How lucky my Mum and Dad were... Dear Diary August 31, 1899 For this is what has become of today's generation.