Work, Life and Leisure

Cities in ancient period arose due to adequate food supply and trade activities, while those in modern period arose due to industrialization. From 1750, urbanisation of London began. Its population grew, as did industries and crimes. London workers lived in cheap, hazardous tenements, to counter which mass housing was introduced. Steps taken to make London clean included establishment of garden spaces and large blocks of apartments. The underground railway system transported people from these parts to their workplaces. In city life, family life got affected. Women who lost their industrial jobs worked as domestic help. During wartimes, nuclear families were a norm. Earlier, London elite attended operas, while London poor went to pubs. From 19th century, people went to libraries, art galleries and museums. By 20th century, they attended cinemas. Workers also spent holidays near sea. During late 19th century, incidents like Bloody Sunday highlighted poor’s participation in city political life. Urbanization in colonial India was centered around Presidency cities, especially Bombay (Mumbai). Initially under Portuguese control, it passed into British hands, under whom it became port for export and capital of Bombay Presidency. It attracted many people. Many mills were setup in Bombay. Railways encouraged further migration. Majority of city population lived in crowded and unhygienic chawls. Need for additional space led to land reclamation. From 20th century, Bombay came to symbolize the film industry in India. City development led to pollution, especially due to factories. Campaigns for clean environment proved ineffective, as did Smoke Abatement Acts. Calcutta (Kolkata) also experienced pollution from industries, railways and rice mills.

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