The Industrial Revolution

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  • Published: 11 May 2013
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John is living during the Industrial Revolution. Times are changing and so's his life. Friends are broken and family ties burn as some wait on the road to die and others try to make a living, but at what price? All is revealed in this series of diary entries...

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1. The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution

 

We explore the events of the industrial revolution, by looking at written reference from John Smith, an 11 year old boy in the heart of the events. His life is torn and taken through this unfortunate period of this time.

 

 

 Monday 1st of January 1800

 

Dear Diary,

Today is the start of the New Year. I have a feeling that this year will be magnificent. In the eleven years of my life, everything has gone as a dream, animals to talk to and to play with. My four other siblings, mother and father. Nothing could be quite so great. Every day, we will feed our precious animals, (because one day they will have to feed us) and sometimes trade them to buy clothes and tools. The Land Owner, in my view, is a very cruel man; how I hate him. Do excuse me for being so rude about someone else; I have not been myself lately. I will tell you of this news later; I must go and help with the three field system. I shall tell you of that too.

John

 

Tuesday 8th of January 1800

 

   Dear Diary,

   I shall now explain about the three field system. Over time we grow crops, each seed moves to a different field each time. This is to keep the soil healthy, my father says, so the crops grow well. We grow all types of things, Fallow, oats, wheat and many other things. Each farmer would have their own strip of land, which they would look after and cut down when it is ready. Then all the crops from all the farmers will be shared between all families equally. Last time I wrote, it was my first time helping with the three field system. Usually I would play with the neighbour’s children. On our left the family is: Mr Frank Whetherby, Mrs Rothelda Whetherby (and their children in age smallest to biggest): Emily Whetherby, George Whetherby, Hazel Whetherby and Charlie Whetherby. On our write are the Jones’s: Mr Henry Jones, Mrs Rebecca Jones, (and their children in aged smallest to biggest): Henry Jones (junior), Alice Jones and Martha Jones. And again I must go.

John

 

Saturday 19th of January 1800

 

   Dear Diary,

Firstly I must apologize. I have been keeping my secret from you. From everyone. I was playing with Hazel Whetherby the week before last, and it slipped out of her that she had overheard our parents confirming that me and her are still to be married when we become of age! How dare my parents! They did not think to consult with me? In, later years? And that isn’t the half of it. All my brothers and sisters know too. Oh HELP! They shall slaughter me with taunts and teases. Oh, cruel attention. However, as the days passed, I thought that, maybe this wasn’t so bad, her and I are very close friends.

John

 

Friday 1st of February 1800

 

Dear Diary,

Over these days I have thought of Hazel, and what would happen if we were to be separated somehow. The bare thought of that…is unbearable. And now, more rumours are flying:

My youngest brother is betrothed to Emily Whetherby, and my second oldest brother (I am the oldest) is betrothed to Alice Jones. I teased and taunted them, but not as much as they did to me, none of them have the same friendship like me and Hazel do.

John

 

 

Thursday 7th of February 1800

 

Dear Diary,

My parents now know that I know about Hazel and me.  Mother, Father, Mr Whetherby and Mrs Whetherby sat down and talked to us about it. They also told us that when I am twenty-one, I am to marry Hazel. I cannot say if I look forward or dread that coming day. As we may be apart. That is what they told us. Then, they left me and Hazel to talk. We spoke for hours and hours into the night. I know now that she feels we are best friends too. Not in any type of love, that would be silly, and childish, and rather odd. I thought all that night about how Hazel and I would be separated. Then it occurred to me, it can’t just be Hazel. Everyone working on the farm would be split up.

John

 

Thursday 14th January 1800

 

Dear Diary,

You may think this is all very, very stupid, but it happens a lot around here. People want there family to live on and to be remembered. Anyway, I have not spoken to you for a week; for I have been speaking to Hazel as well as building a little trap! The objective is to have a laugh at my second oldest brother and Alice Jones! Hazel and I can’t wait to see the plan unfold! Craftsmanship runs in my family, and I have created a device that will tie Alice and my brother together as if they are in an embrace!  Everyone knows that those two don’t particularly like each other due to an incident many years ago. I must go and see to my work!

John

 

Thursday 21st January 1800

 

Dear Diary,

I have worked with Hazel a lot and have really got to know her in a lot more detail. We share the same interests, but I won’t go into it too much! My trap is complete, I have yet to test it, but I know it will be a success. My final task now is to get them to come into the field at the time I can. For a start, I cannot do four ‘o’clock, I said I would go on a  walk with Hazel, I shall do it at night, then ring a bell so everyone shall come out and see! Such fun! Such fun!

John

 

Friday 22nd January 1800

 

Dear Diary,

The trap worked! They wriggled a lot, which made them look quite disturbing! Obviously they will hate me forever now but, when I and Hazel broke out into laughter, he didn’t need the bell, everyone could here us anyway! But our fun may have just stopped. All the villagers came together and agreed we should all meet in the field tomorrow at four. I protested saying that Hazel and I were going on a walk, but they said we had to be there. I had an awful feeling that this could be the attraction that will separate me and Hazel forever.

John

 

Saturday 23rd January 1800

 

Dear Diary,

I know now that I and Hazel shall be apart forever. My best friend, someone who make’s total sense when my family drives me insane. The Land Owner has ordered us to move out. He says that our animals are mixing with his, giving them diseases. I feel that this a petty excuse, just to get rid of us. I don’t know what to do. The crops will be harvested by something called a machine. But the machines need operating by someone. The Land Owner has chosen the Whetherbys to take care of his precious, metal abominations! The fields are being enclosed, hedges are being grown around them, and we will starve without anyone to go to. Our family shall not live on. However, the Land Owner says we can stay if we have a written document that clearly states that we own that part land. Hazel said she would help, but she can’t. All hope is lost. None of us can read or write. We leave for the town tonight. We are no longer self sufficient.

John

 

Sunday 24th of January 1800

 

Dear Diary,

I will never forget the sadness in our hearts or minds, as we jumped onto the back of a wagon when we began our ride into town. The Land Owner gave us a small bit of money, to make a living. I was not at all bothered. I had lost my best friend. It wasn’t fair. When we left, Hazel gave me a tight hug, and promised she wouldn’t forget me. The Jones’s said there was no point in arguing. They also said they had no chance. When we first saw the machines in action that night, all they did was weep, they said they would sit on the street and die. They chose their fate. I will now choose mine. Mother and Father have chosen theirs. These minutes are the last I shall see of them. When we came to town, we jumped of the wagon at a place called “Burnywood workhouse” .Our mother and father bent down and said goodbye to my brothers and sisters, through their tears. When they turned to me, they asked me to be strong. They also said that Hazel knew my location, in ten years she will get me out of this mess, they promised. They also said that they will wait on the road with the Jones’s. Mother handed the workhouse owner all the money that the landowner gave us, and all our animals. The owner took us in to work. I waved to mother and father, until the metal door shut. In the eyes of a king or queen I thought: “This castle is my palace, but now it is my prison”. I actually think that line is quite powerful you know!

John

 

Sunday 1st of February 1800

 

Dear Diary,

I have three meals a day. I get served gruel. I hate it, but it is my only chance of survival. Word has reached through town, that everyone is dead. The Jones’s are dead. My mother and father... are dead… My dream is dead. I now wait an agonising ten years for my best friend, now maybe more, to take me from this place. What a twist on my story. “It’s the brave little Hazel coming to the rescue!” Marrying Hazel is my only chance of survival when I get out of here. It is the only thing in my life that will be worth something. To have my story read and listened to, to have my family name passed down from generation, to generation. However, that might just work, Hazel has put in a word for me saying that I am a good craftsman. The head of the workhouse has asked me to build a device which will make giving out gruel faster! I have a plan in mind. I will build a wheel, with small pots at each end. As the wheel turns, it will scoop up some gruel (I plan to have a big pot of gruel beneath it) and slap it into your plate! This will happen over and over again, until someone stops the wheel!

John

 

Sunday 15th of February 1800

 

Dear Diary

My device is finished, it works! The owner is very proud of me! Hopefully, my life will now get better!

John

 

 

John’s life seems to have taken a turn for the better. As the relationship between Hazel and John was strong from what we read in his diary, we thought we should find Hazels, her diary has decayed over the years but we managed to unmask and decipher an unfortunate event in her life, when John’s hit a high…

 

 

Saturday 7th of February 1800

 

Dear Diary,

I have had much time to play with my sister, seen as though my father operates the machines. Even though I and Emily would plat each others hair, and play clapping games, and all that, Emily even though she is the youngest, she is the noisiest out of the whole family! But I keep thinking, what could be happening to John in “Burnywood”. For all I know he could be with the Jones’s or his mother and father. A.K.A dead. The day I am twenty I shall storm out of this heap of grass and find him again! I- wait, someone just screamed… it was mother; I must go and see what’s wrong!

Hazel Whetherby

 

Saturday 14th of February 1800

 

Dear Diary,

Firstly, I apologise for my tears, running down my cheek, onto the page. My father is dead. The tractor, it, it I don’t know what happened to the tractor. It fell on its side, my father jumped out onto the grass. The tractor fell and crushed him. I don’t know what to think. Or feel. I want my best friend back. He would make me feel better. When I am twenty I will find him, I cannot go now; I must support my bereaved mother, and family.

Hazel Whetherby

 

We now turn back to John, whose life could now change.

 

 

Tuesday 17th of February 1800

 

Dear Diary,

I noticed something coming down the road yesterday. A coffin, when a deceased villager comes through the street, we all come out of our houses and workplaces to show respect. Only this was strange, Mrs Whetherby, Emily Whetherby, George Whetherby, Hazel Whetherby and Charlie Whetherby where walking behind the coffin. They wore black. Frank Whetherby somehow was dead. The mere shock caused me to faint. As I fell onto the ground my eyes flickered. People crowded around and somehow Hazel new it was me that had fallen. My eyes shut when I saw her bending down at my side. Later, the coffin had gone and so had Hazel. So had my memories. All I could think was: As my life took a turn for the better, hers took a turn for the worse.

John

 

Tuesday 24th of February 1800

 

Dear Diary,

I cannot believe what I have been offered. I have been asked to help and work in the local crafts shop! My life is not as bad as it seems! At the age of eleven I have a job! They said I must accept because at this time, they are being offered a lot animal and money to take new children in. However, I must leave my brothers and sisters behind. But fear not, I will ensure my brothers and sisters are safe, I will give the workhouse half my wage I gain every week. When my siblings are over fifteen, it will then be their decision when to leave. The workhouse owner has agreed to all the terms. I am very excited! I will start in one week! I will get up early, have breakfast at the workhouse, go to work, and then come home for dinner in the evening. The owner has said that he is being offered more and more to take children in, so he needs more people to leave, to get more space. Goodbye workhouse, hello job!

John

 

Tuesday 3rd of March 1800

 

Dear Diary,

Today was my first day at work. I mainly just sat in the corner and watched how Mr Williams ran the place. Until I get older, my job will be to work at the till, where people pay for the things they buy. While I do that, Mr Williams will be making more objects to sell. Tomorrow I start earning money to pay for my siblings care.

John

 

Friday 5th of March 1800

 

Dear Diary,

My job is fairly easy; I don’t have to do much. My siblings are ok too. There’s not much else to say. Apart from that Hazel’s mum has come into the shop sometimes, she says hello to me, but she is still upset about Mr Whetherby.

John

 

John did not write that much in his diary for quite a few years, he mainly tried to focus on his work to earn money to ensure the care of his siblings was still going. Hazel’s diary has decayed so we cannot write much about her. So now we turn to John’s next diary entry, when he was a lot older.

 

Saturday 10th of March 1804

 

Dear Diary,

We have not spoken for a while, today, I age another year. I am now fifteen and to be honest not much has actually happened. My siblings have moved out of the Workhouse, and now they will live with me in the shop. I earned enough money to buy some blankets, so we can sleep on the floor every night. I and Mr Williams would make the produce, and my siblings would take it in turns to have shifts working at the till. Life could not be better. Sometimes I would send my youngest sibling to peek through the hedges to see if Hazel still lives on the farm. She does, and she is now fourteen years old. I wrote to you on this day because my birthday is the one day I get off. So I may not write again for some time.

John

 

Again, John did not write in his diary for some time, for five years exactly. Soon John would be able to find Hazel again.

 

Thursday 10th of September 1809

 

Dear Diary,

I have not written in some time…again. Today I am twenty. I only have to wait another year until I can find Hazel and live a happy life. Mr Williams still works here and so do my siblings, so all is well. I wonder what Hazel is thinking or doing right now.

John

 

John seemed to neglect his diary, so now we turn to Hazel’s diary. We have found another piece of text explaining what is going through her head at this time.

 

Thursday 10th of September 1809

 

Dear Diary

I am sure that it is John’s birthday today he should be twenty, I am nineteen. I went to “Burnywood” and put a letter through the door for him. I don’t know if he saw it. I look forward to when I am twenty, and then I can leave the farm and do what I like.

Hazel Whetherby

 

Friday 10th of September 1809

 

Dear Diary,

I am now twenty-one, Hazel should be twenty now. I am sure her birthday was back in January. Tomorrow morning I shall leave and go to the farm to start a new life!

John

 

Friday 10th of September 1809

 

Dear Diary,

John is now twenty-one and I am twenty. Tonight I shall go to “Burnywood” and get him out of there. I am about to embark on an exciting new adventure!

Hazel Whetherby

 

Friday 10th of September 1809

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I went for a walk. I hadn’t been gone for five minutes when I heard someone calling my name. So I turned around. I was quite scared at first. To my shock, it was Hazel. I said nothing, I was totally stunned. She ran forward and hugged me tightly just as she did when I left the farm. I had no idea what t0 say, and I don’t think she did either. For ten years I had not seen my best friend. But still our friendship had survived. I let go of her hands and went down on one knee. When she agreed, we both knew our lives would get better.

Mr John Smith

 

John’s life had chopped and changed, but he always new there was something worth living for. He looked forward to the day when he would be reunited with his friend again, never ever to be torn apart. Years later, they both wrote one last  diary entry, about there life in 1829.Starting with Hazel’s diary.

 

 

Thursday 10th of September 1829

 

Dear Diary,

I am now thirty-nine. I have many fun and enjoyable experiences to remember within the last nineteen years of my life. I have five beautiful children, a comfortable and cosy house. I know my father is and will be proud of me and what I have achieved. This is the last time I shall write to you as I have a lot to be getting on with. Another child is on their way, and I have to look after the house, taking care of the cooking and cleaning. Recently I have peeked through the hedge of the farm, where I once lived. It has become a town. I shall let John explain that to you! I quite can’t get my head around it! I hope someone will find you in years to come, and my family and I will be remembered. I wish.

For one last time, signed

Mrs Hazel Smith

 

Thursday 10th of September 1829

 

Dear Diary,

Firstly it is my fortieth birthday! I would like to know. I will not repeat what my wife has just said about the house, the family and her life and memories, which I share. I am happy with my life, from living on a farm, to a workhouse, to a family and happy life. This is the last time I shall write, and I want to explain to you the events of which have occurred throughout the past. The Land Owner needed workers for the machines so, he brought in more people who needed jobs. But he had to build houses, as well as shops and churches, to make sure that all workers had recourses and food. In this process he became even richer. Be then became more wealthy when he discovered coal underground, coal was used to work machine’s. He then brang in more workers to mine the coal, he would then send it on a new invention (the “Train”) and it would be distributed to people who needed it. The farm had become a town. This is the last time I shall write. Goodbye, my old friend.

For one last time, signed

Mr John Smith

 

Mr and Mrs Smith buried their diaries together on the farm, they both felt that place was special to them. They buried their diaries, bound by the same rope as a sign of their love. They had six children and 27 grandchildren. Hazel died at the age of sixty and John died at sixty-two. We would like to pay tribute to them for telling us so much about there lives, by exhibiting these texts in an exhibition. Go to www.hazel+johnexhibit.co.uk to find out location and opening times.

 

 

Thank you Mr John Smith and Mrs Hazel Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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