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by Jill Brown (Adult School Girl at Muir Academy)
Miss Snow delivered a series of lessons on the Industrial Revolution as part of "Social History". We were asked to write an essay on how it might have felt at the time. This is my essay!
Well, we aren't going very fast, but at least Dad managed to borrow an ox cart for the journey so we don't have to walk. We're moving house you see, we used to farm a lot on the common land, but that's been taken away from us by some act of parliament. Dad says we must move to the town or starve.
We aren't going easily mind you, Dad and my Uncle and some other men put up a pretty good fight and it looked for a while like they might hold on to their land. But then the justice sent for the Army and there wasn't much point fighting then - leave quietly or end up on a one way boat trip to the Colonies.
The Lord of the Manor is alright of course, he's laid claim to all of the commoner's land - every single piece! Not that he knows anything about working the land, he's managed very nicely so far by taking a portion of what we grew. Anyway, he's taken the land and the court says he can because of some 'enclosure' powers he got from London. So we have to leave.
They say he has grand plans for the manor now, a new tenant farm manager, fancy new machinery and this new Dutch farming system where you can grow animal feed every third year instead of having a field in fallow. They say he's taking on a few men to work the land, but he pays them in coin and keeps the produce himself. It's a lot more efficient with the machines so he only needs a few men compared to the dozens that worked the land before. Of course when they chose which men to hire, the men who demonstrated weren't the ones chosen.
So, we're off to Bristol in an ox cart. Dad and Mum, GrandPa, me, my brother Tony and my baby sister Lil. I'm left holding the baby, Mum's sat up front with Dad. They say it will take another two days to get there and its quite exciting really! Although I sometimes went to the local town to sell or swap produce, I've never been to a city before!
But Dad is fairly hopeful, he's good with his hands and is very good making things with wood. He's been able to get a job with a man called Jethro Tull who makes farm machinery in a factory near the city. It's funny how the same thing which drove us from our last home is going to pay for our new life, but Dad says everything is going to be alright.
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