Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: F is for Factory Act

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.comThe working conditions (pay and hours) of early industries were appalling.  Almost everybody has heard of the horror stories of small children being required to work 12+ hours a day in dangerous cotton mills, often without breaks, open to fevers, sometimes losing fingers, sometimes their lives (if they were not quick enough around the machinery).  And it wasn't just the cotton mills.  Little boys apprenticed to chimney sweeps were stuffed up chimneys (because they were small enough) or several families have tales of ancestors as young as six having to work in a coal mine.

So you would think that any legislation to make these conditions better would be a good thing.  Except it was profitable to have children working...But in 1833 there arose a Factory Inspectorate - and now it became more expensive to flout the Acts - because you could be fined. The 1842 Mines Act prohibited 'females and children under ten years of age' from working underground.  By 1844, these new laws extended to the better treatment of female workers in other industries, as well.

By 1878, the rules stated:
  • No child anywhere under the age of 10 was to be employed.
  • Compulsory education for children up to 10 years old.
  • 10-14 year olds could only be employed for half days.
  • Women were to work no more than 56 hours per week.
A-Z Challenge: F

© 2015 Ros Haywood. All Rights Reserved


  1. It is so sad when one reads this and to also think the factories who employed the children were up in arms when laws were passed.

  2. There are still too many young children working around the world. A very important issue thanks.

  3. Well, at least there was compulsory education. At least that's something.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ



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