CBSE Class 10 History Notes Chapter 6 - Work Life and Leisure

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CBSE Class 10 History Notes Chapter 6 - Work Life and Leisure
Characteristics of the City

  • Towns and cities first appeared in river valleys in Ur, Nippur and Mohenjodaro.
  • Cities are the centres of political power, administrative network, trade and industry, religious institutions and intellectual activity, and support various social groups such as artisans, merchants and priests. 
  • Ancient cities could develop only when there was surplus agricultural produce, to feed people engaged in non-food activities.
  • The modern city worldwide has developed over the last 200 years.

Three historical processes have shaped modern cities in decisive ways.

  1. The rise of capitalism.
  2. The establishment of colonial rule over large parts of the world.
  3. The development of democratic ideals.

Industrialisation and the Rise of the Modern City in England

  • In the modern era, the form of urbanisation has changed due to industrialisation.
  • Most western countries were largely rural even many decades after the beginning of the industrial revolution.
  • The early industrial cities of Britain such as Leeds and Manchester attracted a large number of migrants to the textile mills set up in the late 18th century.


  • By 1750, one out of every nine people of England and Wales lived in London.

Apart from the London dockyards, five major types of industries employed large numbers: 

  1. Clothing and footwear
  2. Wood and furniture
  3. Metals and engineering
  4. Printing and stationery
  5. Precision products such as surgical instruments,watches, and objects of precious metal.

  • During the First World War (1914-18), London began manufacturing motor cars and electrical goods. 
  • The number of large factories increased until they accounted for nearly one-third of all jobs in the city.

Marginal Groups


  • Crime became an object of widespread concern in London.
  • The police were worried about law and order, philanthropists (someone who works for social upliftment and charity and donating time and money).
  • To discipline the population, the authorities imposed high penalties for crime and offered work to those who were considered deserving poor.


  • With technological developments, women gradually lost their industrial jobs, and were forced to work within households.
  • A large number of women used their homes for increasing family income by taking lodgers or through such activities as tailoring, washing or matchbox making.
  • In the twentieth century, women got employed in wartime industries and offices and withdrew from domestic service.


  • Large number of children were pushed into low-paid work, often by their parents.
  • After the Compulsory Elementary Education Act in 1870, and the factory acts beginning from 1902, the children were kept out of industrial work.


  • After the Industrial Revolution, factory or workshop owners did not provide house the migrant workers. 
  • Poor people lived in unhygienic condition of slums.
  • After Russian Revolution happened in 1917, there was a widespread fear of social disorder.
  • Therefore, workers’ mass housing schemes were planned to prevent the London poor from turning rebellious.
  • Large blocks of apartments were built, similar to those in Berlin and New York – cities which had similar housing problems.

Cleaning London

  • A variety of steps were taken to clean up London. Attempts were made. These are following:
  1. To de-congesting localities 
  2. Greening the open spaces 
  3. Reducing pollution 
  4. Landscaping the city.
  • Attempts were made to bridge the difference between city and countryside through ideas as Green Belts ( Area of open land with plants and trees) around London.

Transport in the City

  • The London underground railway was introduced. 
  • It partially solved the housing crisis by carrying large masses of people to and from the city. 
  • 10th January 1863: The first underground railway in the world opened between Paddington and Farrington Street in London. 
  • Between the two World Wars, the London tube railway led to massive displacement of the London poor. 
  • Better-planned suburbs and a good railway network enabled large numbers to live outside Central London and travel to work.

Social Changes in the City

  • In the industrial city, ties between members of households loosened.
  • As women lost their industrial jobs, women were forced to withdraw into their homes.
  • The public space became increasingly a male preserve
  • In the 19th century, Chartism Movement was a movement demanding the voting rights for all adult males.
  • Gradually, women participated in political movements and demanded voting rights and the right to property from 1870s.
  • By the twentieth century, women were employed in large numbers to meet war demands.

Leisure and Consumption

  • In the late 18th century, several cultural events, such as the opera, the theatre and classical music performances were organised for an elite group.
  • In the 19th century, Libraries, art galleries and museums were established.
  • By the early twentieth century, Music halls were popular among the lower classes.
  • Cinema became the great mass entertainment for mixed audiences.

Politics in the City

  • In the severe winter of 1886, the London poor exploded in a riot, demanding relief from the terrible conditions of poverty.
  • A similar riot occurred in late 1887, which was brutally suppressed by the police.

The City in Colonial India

  • The pace of urbanisation in India was slow under the colonial rule. 
  • In the early 20th century, no more than 11% of Indians were living in cities.
  • There were three Presidency cities- Bombay, Bengal and Madras in British India.
  • Population in the presidency towns rose considerably owing to the availability of major ports, warehouses, homes and offices, army camps, as well as educational institutions, museums and libraries.

Bombay: The Prime City of India?

  • Bombay was a group of seven islands under Portuguese control.
  • 1661: The control of Bombay passed into the British hands after the marriage of Britain’s King Charles II to the Portuguese princess.
  • Bombay became the principal Western port for the East India Company. At first, Bombay was the major outlet for cotton textiles from Gujarat.
  • It became an important administrative and industrial centre of Western India.
  • 1819: Bombay became the capital of the Bombay Presidency after the Maratha defeat in the Anglo-Maratha war.

Work in the City

  • Large communities of traders and bankers, as well as artisans and shopkeepers, came to settle in Bombay.
  • Between 1919 and 1926, Women formed as much as 23 percent of the mill workforce.
  • By the late 1930s, women’s jobs were increasingly taken over by machines or by men.

Housing and Neighbourhoods

  • Bombay did not grow according to any plan.
  • Bombay fort area divided between a native town and a European or White section.
  • The crisis of housing and water supply became acute.
  • Richer Parsi, Muslims & upper caste traders, industrialists lived in sprawling spacious bungalows while working people lived in the thickely populated chawls.
  • Chawls are largely owned by private landlords,
  • Each chawl was divided into smaller one-room tenements which had no private toilets.
  • Lower castes were kept out of many Chawl and often had to live in shelters made of corrugated sheets, leaves or bamboo poles.

City Planning

  • Town planning emerged from fears of social revolution and the fears about the plague epidemic.
  • In 1898, the City of Bombay Improvement Trust was established which focused on clearing poorer homes out of the city centre.
  • In 1918, a Rent Act was passed to keep rents reasonable.

Land Reclamation in Bombay

  • Reclamation meant the levelling of the Hills around Bombay.
  • The need for additional commercial space in the mid-19th century led to the formulation of several
  • Governments and private plans for the reclamation of more land from the sea.
  • In 1864: The Back Bay Reclamation Company won the right of reclaiming the Western foreshore from the tip of Malabar Hill to the end of Colaba.
  • As population started growing in the early 19th century, every bit of the available area was built over and new areas were reclaimed from the sea.

Bombay as the City of Dreams: The World of Cinema and Culture

  • Bombay is known as a city of dreams or “Mayapuri”.
  • Bombay Film industry through its movies speak of the contradictory aspects of the city
  • First movie in 1896, scene of a wrestling match shot by Sakharam Bhatwadekar.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke made Raja Harishchandra in 1913.
  • By 1925, Bombay became India’s film capital.
  • Many people in the film industry were migrants from cities such as Lahore, Madras and Calcutta.

Cities and the Challenge of the Environment


  • In industrial cities such as Leeds, Bradford and Manchester, hundreds of factory chimneys discharged black smoke into the skies. 
  • By 1840 Derby, Leeds & Manchester had laws to control smoke
  • The Smoke Abatement Acts of 1847 and 1853, as they were called, did not always work to clear the air.


  • The railway line introduced in 1855 introduced a new pollutant-coal from Raniganj.
  • In 1863, Calcutta became the first Indian city to get smoke nuisance legislation.
  • Bengal Smoke Nuisance Commission largely controlled industrial smoke.
CBSE Class 10 History Notes Chapter 6 - Work Life and Leisure

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