Why foreign grain and World War 1. In
Why were people leaving the land? It is a very good question so here's the answer in a nutshell. Low wages, harsh working conditions, no holidays, the invention of machines, the industrial towns and cities, the diet, importation of foreign grain and World War 1. In 1861 18% of the population of Britain worked in the farming industry. By 1901 it had fallen to just 11% and by 1961 to just under 5%.
Two reasons for this massive deduction of people were the low wages and the development of machinery. Farm workers got paid very little. A horseman would earn about £40 a year. The following passage is taken from the Report of the Royal commission on labour 1893: "In 1820, to cultivate, reap and deliver five different crops it would have taken 53 days. In 1892, the same operations would be performed by those using modern methods in 35 days. The labour displaced would be one man for every thirty-four acres". This report shows how fast technology was developing.
Another problem was the diet. The workers on the farm had a very poor diet. They worked a 15-hour day and ate an unsubstantial diet. A typical look at what they ate a day
· Breakfast: Oatmeal and hot water
· Tea: Broth, cheese, oatcakes
As we can see it is half of what a 21st Century child would eat a day. Their work was very hard and they would have been shattered by the end of the day.
The quarters farm workers had to live in were very poor. They were usually were put up in a barn with a couple of blankets as their bed. These were called Bothies. They were usually very smelly places and were very damp and cold.
Something that had an impact is the fact that farm workers had very hard working conditions. For example a horseman had to get up at 05:00 and probably would not get to bed until 21:00. They worked a 16 hour day and they had to ten