The conditions in the factories were appalling. They were filthy, badly drained and badly ventilated.
Because the factories were badly ventilated, dust from the materials used was thick in the air. This, the heat, the smoke from the lamps used to light the factory, and the confined space made the workers who breathed it in feel sick, have head aches or feel unable to breathe. This usually affected new workers and was called mill fever. Tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis and byssinosis were all rife in factories due to the dust and flue in the air.
ventilation also meant that factories were also very hot as William Cobbett
"The 1st, 2nd and 3rd of September were very hot days. The newspapers told us that men had dropped down dead in the harvest fields and the many horses had fallen dead in the harvest fields and that many horses had fallen dead upon the road. Yet the heat during these days never exceeded eighty-four degrees in the hottest part of the day. What, then, must be the situation of the poor children who are doomed to toil fourteen hours a day, in an average of eighty-two degrees?"
Not all agreed on the
conditions, however. Some like Andrew Ure thought
that in fact, factory workers were much better off than other workers. Others
claimed that the air pollution had no effect on their health and that the
workers soon got used to the noise in the factory.