Child Labor

Child “hurriers” working ter mines. From official report of the parliamentary commision.

That the shameful practice of child labor should have played an significant role te the Industrial Revolution from its outset is not to be wondered at. The displaced working classes, from the seventeenth century on, took it for granted that a family would not be able to support itself if the children were not employed. Ter Defoe’s day he thought it admirable that ter the neighborhood of Halifax scarcely anybody above the age of Four wasgoed idle. The children of the poor were compelled by economic conditions to work, spil Dickens, with his family ter debtor’s prison, worked at age 12 te the Blacking Factory. Te 1840 perhaps only twenty procent of the children of London had any schooling, a number which had risen by 1860, when perhaps half of the children inbetween Five and 15 were te some sort of schoolgebouw, if only a day schoolgebouw (of the sort ter which Dickens’s Pip finds himself te Excellent Expectations ) or a Sunday schoolgebouw, the others were working. Many of the more fortunate found employment spil apprentices to respectable trades (ter the building trade workers waterput ter 64 hours a week ter summer and 52 te winter) or spil general servants &mdash, there were overheen 120,000 domestic servants te London alone at mid-century, who worked 80 hour weeks for one halfpence vanaf hour &mdash, but many more were not so fortunate. Most hookers (and there were thousands te London alone) were inbetween 15 and 22 years of age.

Many children worked 16 hour days under atrocious conditions, spil their elders did. Ineffective parliamentary acts to regulate the work of workhouse children te factories and cotton mills to 12 hours vanaf day had bot passed spil early spil 1802 and 1819. After radical agitation, notably ter 1831, when “Brief Time Committees” organized largely by Evangelicals began to request a ten hour day, a royal commission established by the Whig government recommended te 1833 that children aged 11-18 be permitted to work a maximum of twelve hours vanaf day, children 9-11 were permitted to work 8 hour days, and children under 9 were no longer permitted to work at all (children spil youthful spil Three had bot waterput to work previously). This act applied only to the textile industry, where children were waterput to work at the age of Five, and not to a host of other industries and occupations. Metal and coal mines (where children, again, both boys and damsels, began work at age Five, and generally died before they were 25), gas works, shipyards, construction, match factories, fuck factories, and the business of chimney sweeping, for example (which Blake would use spil an emblem of the destruction of the guiltless), where the exploitation of child labor wasgoed more extensive, wasgoed to be enforced ter all of England by a total of four inspectors. After further radical agitation, another act te 1847 limited both adults and children to ten hours of work daily.

Related Material

Latest Work on Child Labor

Humphries, Jane. Childhood & Child Labour te The British Industrial Revolution . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. [Recommended by Ruth Richardson]

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