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Life and work in Merthyr Tydfil in the nineteenth century.

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Introduction

History Coursework - Life and work in Merthyr Tydfil in the nineteenth century. The growth of industry in Merthyr was the main reason for the huge increase in population over a hundred years from 1750 to 1851. The population was estimated at four hundred people for the year 1750,this was just an estimate so we do not know how reliable this is as it is just an estimate and was not an official system. However by 1801 the first census was introduced and this produced an official figure for the population in Merthyr at the time, which was seven thousand people. This shows a massive increase in population in just over fifty years. The population continued to rise up until 1851 where it reached forty six thousand people. Source A1 The population of Merthyr Tydfil Year Population 1750 400 1801 7,000 1831 30,000 1851 46,000 The area of Merthyr was ideally situated for an iron works, as the mountains above were inexhaustible sources of Iron ore, coal, limestone, firestone and fire clay. There were several iron works in Merthyr at the time but the ones of Mr.Crawshays were the grandest and largest. ...read more.

Middle

The canal allowed raw materials to be transported at a much faster rate than previously, it could also transport a larger amount of goods at a time, compared to the old method of a horse and cart. Source A5(ii) shows how in ten years the use of the canal went from 83,729 tons of coal a year to 211,214 tons of coal a year. The levels of discontent in Merthyr started to rise at the start of the nineteenth century. There were many factors that contributed to this; one of them was truck tokens that were issued to workers as payment. This caused discontent because the tokens could only be spent in the shops, which were owned by the truck companies. The goods were highly priced and poor in quality, this along with a number of other issues including the state of the government at the time eventually led to the start of the riots in Merthyr at the start of the nineteenth century. Source B2 explains how the riot in Merthyr had reached such a point that it would be impossible to stop without the assistance of the military. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the start of the nineteenth radical ideas started to become more popular in Merthyr. They believed that wide scale reforms were needed in Merthyr at the time. These views are put across in source B4, which is part of an anonymous paper, found near Penydarren on 27th January 1817. It talks about the misery of the people of Merthyr and how if changes are not made soon the workers will take the law into their own hands. Source A1 shows the growth in population in Merthyr over a hundred years from 1750 to 1831. Source C1 shows the census of 1851 in detail. The reliability of this source is put into question as it says that the total population in Merthyr in the year 1851 is six thousand, five hundred and twenty eight. If this is compared to source A1, where it states that the population in Merthyr was actually thirty thousand people. Therefore there is a difference of nearly twenty five thousand between each source. This also casts doubt over the reliability of source A1, however in my opinion source I believe that source A1 would be more reliable than source C1 because source A1 supports the fact that Merthyr was booming due to the increasing size of the ironworks at the time. ...read more.

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