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Project Work: The Industrial Revolution

Suggestions for project work about the industrial revolution.

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Include in your presentation a fictional interview with a young person from the period about a day at work.

At the end of your presentation you may ask your audience whether child labour and inhumane working conditions are things of the past or still a big problem.

Your presentation should make use of both visual and audio material. Remember to include your sources of information. Check How to Make an Oral Presentation and How to Make a Visual Presentation for more information.

The following resources will give you some useful background information:

1. Here is a a good site to start:

Child Labour

2. An Industrial Town in the 19th Century

The information below describes the conditions of living and working in an industrial town. This description was based on Charles Dickens' impression of the industrial towns of northern England in the 19th Century.

  • Dickens uses metaphors and similes (see link collection for definitions) in his text to give a picture of the town. Can you find them?
  • What picture do you get of the town?
  • Which adjectives would you use to describe it?

It was a town of red brick, or brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage. It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves forever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of buildings full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam engine worked monotonously up and down like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next.

(from chapter 5, Hard Times by Charles Dickens, 1812 - 1870)

3. Chimney Sweep

In the 18th and 19th centuries, children were employed, for example, in factories, coalmines and as chimney sweeps. Listen to a tour guide talking about the job of a child chimney sweep.

Child Chimney Sweeps

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Child Chimney Sweeps

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UK History

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    Northern Ireland - Trouble and Conflict

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    The Fight for Women's Rights

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    Child migration in the Commonwealth

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    Interview about Manchester and the Industrial Revolution

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    Northern Ireland - Tasks

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    "Walls of Shame: Belfast" (video)

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    Walls of Shame, Part 2

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    In the Name of the Father (film)

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    The Right to Decide – Tasks

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    The Iron Lady

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