It was a time of great change in England. The population was expanding rapidly, and new methods of agriculture were developed to cope with the increasing population. Many people who had lived in the country lost their jobs due to enclosure of land, as small farms were amalgamated into large farms to make farming more efficient. At the same time, new methods of manufacture were devised, and towns expanded. The population began to shift from the country to the towns.
Although the Church of England was still very much the official religion of England, Methodism was spreading , especially in the west country, it was hugely popular in Cornwall for instance. Over three hundred and fifty Methodist chapels were built in the 1700s. There was still strong anti-Catholic feeling in England, in 1780, after a mild measure in Parliament to ease restrictions on Catholics, Lord George Gordon led a mob on the rampage in London. They pillaged Catholic chapels, broke opne prisons, and set fire to a distillery. The orgy of destruction lasted for a week, and almost five hundred people were killed or wounded.
Travel was on foot or on horseback or in horse-drawn vehicles. Wealthy people kept their own carriages, poorer people might travel on public stagecoaches. Those who could not afford stage-coaches might travel on stage-wagons, which were pulled by eight or ten horses, and might carry as many as 30 or 40 passengers. The mid-1700s was the great era of canal building in england, a network of canals were built for transporting goods all across England.
High taxes upon tea, silk, and such French goods as wine, brandy and lace made smuggling a flourishing trade n the eighteenth century. people regarded smuggling as an almost innocent occupation, like poaching. The smugglers found it easy to supply the gentry with tea and brandy, and theri ladies with lace, silk and gloves, on which not a penny in tax had been paid.
All along the coast, and especially in Kent and Sussex, ssmuggling was a regular trade, and the boatmen were helped by the local people. Goods were brought ashore at night from French boats or from homeard bound East Indiamen and were hidden in barns, cellars and even churches, until they could be safely taken to London.
Much of the wealth which came from increasing trade and from better farming methods was spent on building fine houses in both town and country. Great houses like Buckingham House and Blenheim Palace were built with a splending central block to which the kitchens on one side and the stables on the other were connected by a colonnade. These great houses had magnificent assembly rooms wihc were richly decorated with statues, pillars and huge oil paintings in gilt frames. The furnishings were lavish and elegant.
Georgian houses of moderate size were perhaps the most pleasant-looking houses ever built. Many of them are still to be seen in the oldest part of Engish towns. The outside was usually plain and simple, of red brick or white stucco, with sash windows and a handsome doorway. Windows were carefully spaced, one pair exactly matching another, to give a feel of balance to the house.
Blood sports like cock-fighting, bull and bear baiting and sword fights were still popular in Georgian England. Prize-fighting, with bare knuckles, was the forerunner of modern boxing. fights were held in the open air and lasted 50, 60 or even 100 rounds. Prize-fights were forbidden by law, but they were so popular that they took place regularly despite the law.
The great London fair, St Barthlomews at Smithfield, was still held every year, with its stalls, sideshows, wrestling and merry-go-rounds. There were several other fairs, including lady Fair at Southwark.
Towns were noisy places, full of the sound of steet-criers, the bawling of apprencites and shopkeepers, the rumble of heavy carts and coaches, the shouts and quarrelings of the waggoners made a terrific din in the strets, to which was added the confusion caused by droves of animals going to be slaughtered.
Besides the respectable tradesmen, workers and street sellers, there were hordes of poor and destitute who seldom had regular work, but lived as best they could. Thieving, robbery, and murder were common crimes and punishments were savage. A man could be hanged for any one of two hundred crimes, such as sheep-stealing, pocket-picking, or, indeed, for the theft of any amount above five shillings.
Answered By: Louise C - 4/3/2010