After the Industrial revolution, London’s population increased from 6,75,000 in 1750 to about 4 million in 1880. The city gradually underwent urbanisation as people migrated to it for work. Urbanisation refers to the development of a city or town.
People sought work in the London dockyard, or in industries dealing in clothing and footwear, wood and furniture, printing and stationery.
During this period, the workforce comprised of men, women and children. It was only after the passing of the Compulsory Elementary Education Act that children were kept out of industrial work.
The growing population of London caused concern for three groups of people i.e. The police, The philanthropists and The industrialists. Philanthropists are people who work for social upliftment and charity, donating time and money for the purpose. In the late 18th century, many women worked in factories but technological developments soon reduced the requirement for a vast labour force and many women lost their jobs.
The promise of work continued to attract more people to the city, causing a severe housing shortage. Most of the migrant workers lived in tenements. Three major concerns that led to better housing for the poor were: the threat to public health, the possibility of fire hazards and fear of social disorder.
The London Underground railway partially solved the problem by carrying approximately ten thousand passengers, daily, to and from the city. However, the Underground had its critics who felt it added to the mess and unhealthiness of the city. Several houses had been destroyed to make way for its construction. This led to a massive displacement of London’s poor.