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History of Britain - Changing Lives

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12.Urban Slums
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1800 -1830

What was life like in the urban slums of early industrial Britain? A visit to Manchester provides the answer. (6.75 mins)

13.The Tolpuddle Martyrs
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1834 next video 13/17next

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1. The "march of bricks and mortar": the growth of Manchester from the mid 18th century.
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2. How we came to the cities for work - and found a living hell.
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3. The experience of Ancoats in Manchester: jerry-built housing, overcrowding and pollution.
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4. Cholera, traced through the slums by a local doctor, Henry Gaulter.
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5. The transition from rural to urban as the mark of 'civilization'. But was this civilization - or chaos?

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Manchester used to be the most wonderful place to get a sense of Britain in its industrial heyday. I've spent many happy hours over the years tramping through Ancoats and Irktown, where disused mills stand lining the canals. The layout of the old back-to-backs can be traced from original maps.


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But the truth is there's much less to see than there was 15 years ago. So much of Ancoats has been redeveloped, with the more central mills all turned into fancy apartments.

Take a stroll through the area south of the Oldham Road, though, and use your imagination...

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