Activity 3

Life and work during the Industrial Era

Let's learn!

“I spy with my little eye”


In “Coalbrookdale by night”, I spy with my little eye, something beginning with H.”
Is it a “house”? No, it isn’t.
Is it a “horse”? Yes, it is!

Group 1: The environment

Coalbrookdale by night, Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, 1801.
Coalbrookdale by night, Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, 1801.

Your time to shine!

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Select a painting representing life and work during the Industrial Era. Post it on a social network along with a 100-word text illustrating it.

Useful vocabulary: It was painted / drawn / created by... (artist) in... (year).
It represents / depicts... As you can see...
The artist chose... The message conveyed is...

Group 3: Working conditions

Interior of a mill, anonymous artist, 19th century.

Interior of a mill, anonymous artist, 19th century.


  • colourful ≠ monochromatic (adj.)
  • fiery / blazing ≠ dull / dreary /ˈdrɪəri/ (adj.)
  • light / bright ≠ dark / gloomy (adj.)
  • natural ≠ mechanical (adj.)
  • orderly / neat / tidy (adj.)
  • overcrowded ≠ empty / void (adj.)
  • personifying ≠ dehumanising (adj.)
  • symmetrical (adj.)
  • billowing /ˈbɪˌləʊɪŋ/ smoke / clouds of smoke (exp.)
  • working class (n.)
  • chimney (smoke) (n.)
  • factory floor / ceiling /ˈsiːlɪŋ/ (n.)
  • machines / machinery (n.)
  • movement (n.)
  • perspective /pəˈspɛktɪv/ / contrast (n.)
  • vanishing point (n.)
  • “warm” colours ≠ “cold” colours (n.)
  • illuminate / light up (v.)
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You are in charge of one painting.

Be ready to describe your document. Analyse its content, its construction, the focus points, colours used, etc.

How does it represent the Industrial Revolution?

Point out the elements of the document that stood out for you.

Useful vocabulary: I can see...
There is... in the foreground / background.
The perspective gives an impression of...
The colour of the... makes it look like...
The... is dark / bright / low / high, so we can imagine...

Over to you!

Comment on the living and working conditions of the working class

Let’s use what you have learnt in
Activity 3

You are travelling around England during the 19th century. Write a letter to your family, telling them what you have witnessed on your travels.

From French to English


La traduction de « on »

  • Le plus souvent, lorsque « on » ne correspond à aucune personne précise et que l’on s’intéresse à celui / celle qui subit l’action et non à celui / celle qui fait l’action, on utilise alors le passif.
  • Ex : Workers were exploited and were forced to work from dawn till dusk. → On exploitait les ouvriers et on les obligeait à travailler du lever au coucher du soleil.

  • On peut aussi utiliser :
  • – you / we
    – somebody / someone

Exercices p. 162

Group 2: Living conditions

Over London by Rail, Gustave Doré, 1872.

Over London by Rail, Gustave Doré, 1872.

Let's talk this out!


Share your findings with your classmates and learn about the other documents.

Are these documents critical or complimentary of the era?

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